Info Interview Revision (after comments)

12 Apr

Informational Interview

For my informational interview I decided to interview, Jack Crogen, CEO of Crogen Sports. For me, the interview portion of the assignment was the easiest part. The conversation was easy, my questions came smoothly and everything that I thought would be the difficult part ended up being the easiest. On the other hand, deciding who to interview and what would benefit me the most was the most difficult part of the assignment. I have countless basketball contacts around the St. Louis area and I decided doing an interview in the coaching field wouldn’t benefit me. I thought that doing an interview in a field I knew nothing about would be more worth wild, help me network outside of the coaching world and allow me to broaden my knowledge of the sporting industry.

After debating and stressing over who I was going to interview and worrying about having to interview someone in the coaching world. I finally got over the idea of interviewing a coach and just wanted to find someone high up in the sporting world. I got Jack’s name from my dad after telling him I wanted to interview someone in the sports field, but outside the coaching world.

After getting his number and e-mail address, I decided to e-mail him first to introduce myself and explain what my project was and ask if he was interested. Because he knows my father, he enthusiastically e-mailed me back and told me he would love to do the interview. He gave me his number and told me to call him and set up a time and place. I called him and after talking for a while on the phone, found out that because he owns his own business he is fortunate enough to work out of his own home. Because of this and because he was going to be on Lindenwood’s campus for business, we decided to meet at 9 a.m. at the coffee shop in the LU library

On the day of the interview I got up around 7 a.m. to look over my questions and organization the order I would ask them. From the experience my classmates had in their interview, I decided not to dress up as much as I had planned to. I wore a button down shirt with no tie, khakis and dress shoes. I was worried I would be under dressed because he was coming on campus for business, but it ended up being the perfect attire with us both wearing almost the same outfit.

I got to the library about 15 minutes early and waited outside on the steps. I had googled Jack beforehand so I knew exactly what he looked like. As soon as I saw him approaching, I stood up, shook his hand, introduced myself and thanked him for doing the interview. After a little chit chat outside of the library he suggested we go inside, get something to drink and talk. Jack, as I was forced to call him after he told me he wouldn’t answer any of my questions if I called him Mr. Crogen, was easy to talk to.

He bought a coffee for himself and a soda for me and we sat down at a table and the interview began. After my first question the feeling of an interview went away and I felt like I was just having a conversation with someone over drinks in a coffee shop. My questions came easy and his answers came even easier. I literally looked at my question list one time the whole interview and probably only had to ask 10 questions to get all 30 questions answered.

As far as the information I received in the interview, I learned more about what it takes to be successful in life than I learned about his business itself. Something that I was interested in and that we talked a lot about is how he got to be so successful. Seeing the road he took to owning and running his own sports consulting firm benefited me greatly.

I found out that Jack began his working career as a low level video production man for a cable company here in St. Louis. Slowly he worked his way up to managing the video production area of the company. From there he was told by a contact who had connections with the Cardinals about a job opportunity involving the running, managing and development of the new video board being put in Busch Stadium. After receiving the job Jack began his career with the Cardinals where he went from just being in charge of the video board to being director of marketing. With responsibilities for such units as the stadium advertising program, luxury suite business and special events acquisitions.

After spending more than 10 years with the Cardinals, Jack seized the opportunity to start his own sports consulting business. Where he provides strategic and tactical guidance to professional/collegiate sports teams, stadium/arenas, owners/operators and sports architectural firms. Jack has worked with the Cardinals, Rams, Blues, Busch Stadium, Edward Jones Dome, Scottrade Center, the Big 12 Conference and most recently Lindenwood University.

After talking for an hour and a half and getting far more information and more great advice than I could ever have imagined he did something that made me feel good. He handed me his business card and told me that he loved the way I presented myself, my personality and my attitude towards life. He told me because of this interview I created another contact and that if I ever needed anything from him to feel free to contact him whenever I wanted. I thanked him again, we shook hands and parted ways. In the aftermath of the interview I feel like creating a relationship with someone as important as Jack will benefit me in my future in sports, whether it be in coaching or something else.

Hearing the road that Jack took to get to this point and what he thought were the most important things he did to be successful is one of the most significant things I took away from this interview. We talked a lot about networking and contacts and how important that it is not only for his business now but how important it was for him to get into the sporting world. I asked if his major had anything to do with sports or sports management. He told me he got his degree in general studies and that his major was a minuscule part of where he is today.

He believed that what made him successful was that throughout his life treated everyone he met with respect, showed an interest in them and in what they do, which allowed him to create countless contacts and endless networks. He said that he believed his personality and confidence are some other things that made him successful. He said that it doesn’t matter how many contacts you have or how big your network is if you don’t have an outgoing, confident personality. Finally the most obvious and most in your face thing Jack said during the interview was that it doesn’t matter if you have millions of contacts or have the best personality in the world, if you don’t work your ass off you will not make it in this world.

That final piece of advice that Jack gave me in the interview is something that stuck with me and something that I know will stick with me throughout the rest of my life. The three things that made him successful, seem to be obvious and uncomplicated things. But the way he explained it and the way he used his career to show how those three things helped him become successful really hit home with me. At the beginning of this assignment I just wanted to get it over with thinking that it wouldn’t help me in my future. Not only having Jack as a contact, but after talking with Jack, learning from his experience and taking his advice to heart I really think this interview will benefit me in my future.


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