After working in the tech industry for almost a decade, Lyle Adams decided to follow his passion and pursue a career in sports. He researched several programs and decided Columbia's Sports Management master's could be his key to breaking into the industry. Through the program, he says, he has expanded and strengthened his professional network with professors and peers. Today, he is the CEO of Spry, a digital platform for the NCAA and student-athletes to work through student athletes' name, image, likeness (NIL) rights.
What motivated you to enroll in the program?
After eight years of working at three amazing tech firms, I knew that something was missing and felt the need to follow my passion. However, I didn’t know anything about “the business of sports” so thought that enrolling in a sports business program would be a logical next step. After researching several programs I knew that Columbia’s Sports Management program would be the education necessary for me to break into the sports industry.
How did the pandemic impact your learning experience?
Working on my degree during a global pandemic and the shutdown of most major sports organizations allowed for real-life case studies in how nimble the sports industry can be. I appreciated how my teachers pivoted in our classes to address current events while tying them back to typical years in the industry.
Do you have any advice for students entering the Sports Management program?
One of the greatest benefits of SPS is the Career Design Lab. This group works tirelessly to place students in jobs and internships that will enhance their Columbia experience and career development. The CDL team takes the time to get to know students and helps each individual grow their network in their desired industry.
Overall, what was the biggest highlight of the program?
The program at Columbia allowed me to take my career to the next level. In addition to the students, the professors at the University are world-class in that they truly understand the industry. I met amazing people during my time in the program. Classmates became friends, professors became mentors, and I gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for the sports business world. The program exceeded my expectations and I will always cherish my time as an SPS student.