Alumni of the Week: Jeff Neal ’06 ’15 MBA

As I began my job search as a senior at Syracuse, I knew being in marketing that it would benefit me to work in a field I am already passionate about. I really wanted to find a position in the sports or entertainment industry. I held an internship the previous summer with Sony Music and loved it. Working in a field that excites you makes you that much better at your job. When I saw a job posting for the advertising and promotions coordinator for Foot Locker, Inc., I knew I would be a great fit. While it was in the retail industry and not sports/entertainment, it was heavily involved with sports and did keep me in another field I loved…sneakers.

After five years and two positions at Foot Locker, I was able to fulfill my original goal with an opportunity directly in sports. I began as the database marketing manager with the Washington Wizards in 2011 and worked there for two years before accepting an opportunity with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a similar but higher role. I then transitioned to the social and digital media content side of the business with the Buccaneers. Recently, after two years managing the Buccaneers official social media accounts, email newsletter and some of the digital content, I accepted my current position as the director of digital and ticket marketing with the Philadelphia 76ers. I am now responsible for the team’s digital, social and email marketing as well as traditional advertising efforts in support of individual game ticket sales. It was not only a great opportunity and step up in my career, but also nice to be closer to my hometown of Syracuse, N.Y., so I can make more trips to the Carrier Dome!

While many things I have done in my career were new to me and learned on the job, so much of my work was aided by things I learned at Syracuse…primarily having a strong knowledge of MS Excel. Many marketing positions will require you to either perform campaign reports or analyze reports and be comfortable making quick decisions based on the information given. My work with statistics and MS Excel in both undergrad and during the MBA program helped me tremendously. Also, the courses I took on strategic management helped me gain a global perspective of how businesses are run, how they are successful and how to effectively manage a staff.

Going back to the connections I’ve made…I have lived in four major metro areas (New York, D.C., Tampa and now Philadelphia) and have always had a good deal of fellow Syracuse alums around to connect with. It has helped me in hiring employees, asking for recommendations and even getting comfortable in a new city. I loved my time at Syracuse University, and I look forward to continuing my relationship with the university and raising my two little boys to be just like my wife and me…huge Syracuse Orange fans!

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Jeff Neal
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