Published on February 22, 2024  
female mentor with female mentee

Trying to gain professional connections can be an isolating experience for students who are about to join the workforce. The Atlanta Braves are bridging that gap with Samford University students, one mentorship experience at a time.

The sports marketing concentration in Brock School of Business and the sport administration major in the School of Health Professions have a collaborative partnership with executives from the Atlanta Braves, offering students a rare opportunity for mentorship and professional growth.

In 2018 at the Daniel Summit in Atlanta, professors Darin White and Nathan Kirkpatrick met Jim Allen, the Braves’ senior vice president for corporate and premium partnerships. Not long after their initial encounter, Allen reached out about the possibility of mentoring Samford students. Now, the program has blossomed into a mutually beneficial experience for both student and executive.  

male mentor with male menteeStudents in the two Samford programs formally meet with Braves executives twice each year, once on campus and once at the new stadium, Truist Park, in Atlanta. Additionally, each student communicates weekly with their assigned mentor through texts, phone calls and other individual gatherings.

On Feb. 1, Braves executives traveled to Samford’s campus for a luncheon, fellowship, campus tours, and of course, one-on-one time to connect in person with their student mentee.

female mentor with male menteeHank Cobb, director of corporate partnerships for the Atlanta Braves, emphasized the connection this mentorship program has fostered. He said, “it’s been a pleasure to serve in some area of the students’ lives, to help support them and their goals.”

Lana McSwain, executive assistant to the senior vice president of corporate and premium partnerships for the Atlanta Braves, enjoys being a mentor in the program. She said, “I realized how valuable the mentorship program is for anybody that is trying to make progress in life to move forward. Connecting with someone like that is huge.”

male mentor with two male menteesBrock School of Business’ sports marketing concentration equips students with the skills necessary for a career in the global sports marketplace. Students majoring in accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, management or marketing can add this concentration to their program, which prepares them for opportunities in team marketing, sponsor relations, ticket sales, event marketing, sports retailing and league operations.

The sport administration major in the School of Health Professions trains students in the business and leadership skills of the sport industry to be effectively prepared to work in intercollegiate athletic administration, professional sport business settings and other industry specific environments that revolve around the production or promotion of sport. Through market-driven coursework and rigorous academic environments, students will be prepared to enter graduate programs revolving around sport administration or sport management coursework, including related master’s in business administration or law programs.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.