It’s the end of February. Heading toward spring. Meaning commencement is not far from sight.
Many seniors are likely wondering what they’ll be doing come May, where they’ll be working or, if they’ve already landed a job, gearing up to make the transition from student to employee. Carlton Robie ’20 isn’t there yet.
“I’ve still got a lot I want to accomplish here between now and graduation,” Robie says. “I’m trying to apply patience.”
Topping the list of what he wants to see through is the first UNH Sport Industry Conference and Career Fair that, as president of the UNH Sports Career Club, he helped develop and organize.
“So many of my fellow students want to work in the industry, and after various discussions, we thought ‘why not have a landmark event?’” Robie says. “We came up with the concept for the conference and career fair two years ago.”
Slated for Feb. 29, the inaugural event will feature a keynote address from an NFL executive, a panel of industry experts and a case study competition. The career fair will feature more than 20 sports industry representatives.
“My interview was at Fenway Park. I can’t tell you what they asked me, I can’t tell you what we talked about. It was the most surreal experience of my life,”
Robie, a dual major in business administration/marketing and sports studies, is a Dean’s Ambassador, co-managing director of Voice Z Digital Marketing Agency, a student-run marketing group, and a member of the co-ed professional business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi. He began the first of a string of internships working as a manager with the UNH football team during his freshman year.
“Sometimes that was the best part of my day,” Robie says. “It was kind of like being a part of something a little bit bigger. It was exciting, and super cool. After I thought, ‘what else can I do?’”
‘What else’ had him reaching out to the University of New England, located not far from his home in Kennebunk, Maine, to see if there were any sports-related jobs he could do during the summer. He was surprised to learn the school was starting a football team, and the person heading it up was a UNH alum. Robie spent the summer doing marketing and whatever else was needed to support the new team.
In 2018, an advisor told him there was a sales position available with the Boston Red Sox. Robie assumed he wouldn’t get the job but hoped they might remember his name when he applied the following year. Turns out, he didn’t have to wait.
“My interview was at Fenway Park. I can’t tell you what they asked me, I can’t tell you what we talked about. It was the most surreal experience of my life,” Robie says. “I was lucky enough to have them extend an offer to me to work with them.”
And, he says, lucky enough to receive financial assistance from Paul College’s Internship Opportunity Fund, which provides a $2,500 stipend to students interning in costly metropolitan areas.
Robie’s commitment to his job was rewarded with an Employee of the Season Award (sales and service department), given by the Red Sox organization in recognition of standout employees. He posted a photo on his LinkedIn account that received many likes. One individual worked for the Seattle Mariners. He and Robie had gone to the same Maine high school. One thing led to another and ended with Robie getting an internship with the Mariners in the summer of 2019.
“I like to think of that as my study abroad. I was living in a city 3,000 miles from home — I’d never done anything like that before,” he says.
Rather than the premium packages he’d put together for the Red Sox, he worked with the traditional fan base, setting up group events. One of his challenges was improving the number of attendees for a vegan night — “And I’m not a vegan,” he says. When he asked why they didn’t have a runners’ night (yes, he’s a runner) he was encouraged to plan one.
“I was super lucky to be in a place that gave me that kind of flexibility and responsibility. It’s so amazing that I’ve had all these incredible opportunities. At the end of the day, though, it’s like any other business,” Robie says.” It’s about relationships and connecting with people on a deeper level. I’ve always lived by the motto that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. So far, that’s been my experience.”