The University of Wisconsin-Platteville's newest master's program saw its inaugural class of graduates cross the stage this spring. But even before the first notes of pomp and circumstance played, many Master of Science in Sport Administration students had already realized career success. In fact, graduates Jourden Kachel and Craig Stout were called up to the big leagues before they even had their diplomas in hand.
The Sport Administration graduate program was introduced in 2021, offering a 30-credit online curriculum that equips students with the essential leadership skills required for career advancement in all levels of athletics. The Health and Human Performance Department developed the program in partnership with the School of Business, allowing the curriculum to be a perfect meld of the key components of the business and athletics industries. According to Kachel, that's just one of the reasons that sets the program apart from the competition.
"I found it much more captivating to learn business administration skills through the lens of the sport industry," Kachel said. "The sport industry is a multi-billion-dollar global industry that continues to grow in popularity and visibility. I found a career in sport administration to be a bit more exciting than the typical work environment and was able to resonate well with its competitive spirit."
Kachel said the program helped her refine and develop key skills such as professional writing, financial accounting, organizational change planning and marketing planning. These skills proved valuable in advancing her career, as she recently earned the role of Youth Program Coordinator at UW-Platteville. In the role, she works closely with ethics and compliance within the athletics department.
"Without a master's degree, I do not believe I would have landed a job at the university level," Kachel said. "Continuing education is imperative at the university level, and a master's degree is highly valued."
The master's program was designed to be conducive to recent graduates or working professionals looking to make a career shift. Craig Stout, a former collegiate athlete, says the program was the perfect opportunity to apply his competitive spirit to a career in athletics.
"I've always had a mindset to be the best I can be at something. A career in athletics is no different," Stout said. "There is more to sports than the events. This is the part that I have needed to throw myself into in order to learn and continue to learn to do something to the best of my ability."
While earning his degree, Stout worked full time in the UW-Platteville Admissions and Enrollment Office and as an assistant coach for the cross country and track teams. In November, he used the lessons learned in his master's program to earn the position of assistant athletics director of business operations. He says the online, asynchronous format of the program was crucial to allowing him to balance his professional, educational and personal lives.
"Being online gave me the flexibility to get my job done and my degree done," Stout added. "Professors were really great about setting up office hours over Zoom, so I could still get that 'classroom' interaction if I needed it or had specific questions."
The Master of Science in Sport Administration program offers accelerated eight-week courses, allowing students to complete their degree in less than two years. Another benefit of the program is the ability to land a fully paid Sport Administration fellowship, working directly within the Division of Athletics and Recreation. To learn more about the program, click here.