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“A Network of a Lifetime:” Javonty Hunter Credits Sports Management & HBCU Fellowship with Helping to Kick Start His Career

Aware of the SPS' extensive network, Javonty Hunter, SPS’20, sparked connections with faculty and industry leaders to gain internships with the Yankees and MetLife Stadium. Now equipped with finance and operations experience in sports, Javonty is seeking to translate his Columbia degree into a career in wealth management. He recently discussed how both the M.S. in Sports Management and Columbia HBCU Fellowship assisted him along the way.

How did you learn about the Columbia HBCU Fellowship?

I learned about the Columbia HBCU Fellowship from the Associate Provost of Winston-Salem State University. I was recommended to apply for the fellowship based on my co-curricular and extra-curricular involvement on campus. Once I received the email, I started to research more about the opportunity.

What initially attracted you to the Sports Management program at Columbia? 

I have always had a deeply rooted passion for sports. Ever since the age of 5, I participated in and studied sports. As I grew older, I learned the value of the work that takes place behind the scenes and I knew that Columbia University had one of the top sports management programs in the world. What really attracted me to Columbia's program specifically were two things: 1) its holistic approach of using sports as a catalyst for world change and 2) the location of the campus is in the heart of New York City. I understood that being surrounded by league offices such as the MLB and NBA would provide an experience and opportunity that you simply could not get at other institutions.

Which skills were you able to build through the Sports Management program? How did the courses, faculty and other program features help you to develop your skills?

This opportunity allowed me to fortify soft skills such as networking and public speaking. I also gained technical skills such as data analysis through platforms like Tableau, SQL and R. The curriculum taught me more about entrepreneurship in the sports world and how the advancement of technology gives investors the opportunity to push growth globally. I was actually able to intern at MetLife Stadium and work in finance and accounting by establishing an authentic relationship with one of my professors. 

I understood that being surrounded by league offices such as the MLB and NBA would provide an experience and opportunity that you simply could not get at other institutions." 

How did the HBCU Fellowship assist you in your educational and professional development?

The Columbia HBCU Fellowship provided a network of a lifetime – astute and driven professionals who all come from HBCUs. Most of the members of my cohort are individuals whom I believe will be friends far beyond my time at Columbia University. The fellowship also created avenues for me to network with people who are well respected in a range of professions and who came from backgrounds similar to my own.

Tell me about the internships you secured as a Columbia student. How did you benefit from these experiences?

As I stated earlier, during my time at Columbia University, I was able to obtain an internship at MetLife Stadium and learn more about the operations of stadium events and the money behind it. I also had the opportunity to meet an amazing woman and pioneer in the sports world named Bess Brodsky. Thanks to Bess, I was able to meet the ticket sales team at the New York Yankees, thus beginning my relationship with the people that work behind the scenes to bring Yankees’ games to life.

By working hard with the Yankees as well as at MetLife Stadium, I secured a job with Legends Hospitality at the stadium in finance. Our team was the line of defense for hospitality events, game-day operations and non-game day operations. We created financial models to continue the development and growth of the young company.

The Columbia HBCU Fellowship provided a network of a lifetime – astute and driven professionals who all come from HBCUs. [It] also created avenues for me to network with people who are well respected in professions and who came from backgrounds similar to my own."

What’s next in your career?

I am in the midst of obtaining my licenses as a Wealth Management Advisor with the hopes of one day creating a branch that is specifically dedicated to managing and educating professional athletes on how to make the proper investments that fulfill their life goals and needs.

The Columbia HBCU Fellowship provides high-achieving undergraduate seniors selected by partner HBCUs for full-tuition fellowships and housing for master’s degrees at the Columbia University School of Professional Studies. Partner institutions may nominate students to apply by October 2, 2020. Learn more at sps.columbia.edu/hbcu.