Business/Social Work Pre-Grad Intern Chris Ogbonnaya

An IE Pre-Grad Internship Experience

Chris OgbonnayaMy desire to go to graduate school is not an after-thought or accident, but first and foremost, it is an attempt to achieve a goal that I set for myself when I came to the University of Texas. Secondly, it is a no brainer that I should follow in the footsteps of my father who went on to graduate school to get a medical degree, a sister who has a master's degree in voice/opera performance, and another sister who is currently pursuing a master's degree in business administration at the University of Chicago.

I came to the University of Texas, first as a student, then as an athlete. My father constantly challenged me by saying, "No degree, no football." This attitude has guided me so far, allowing me to graduate last spring with a B.A. in History, and a minor in Business Foundations. My graduation has led me to work on a second degree in Communication Studies (Corporate Communications). My football playing days will be over in a few months, and I have been asking myself, "What's next?" The next step is to go to graduate school.

Even though I have secured a degree in history, my current foray in Communication Studies, especially advertising 378, that deals with Integrated Communications in Sports, has sparked my interest to study advertising or business at the graduate level. The class has focused on how amateur and professional sports have an effect on the economy. Recently, I have been doing some amateur sports reporting and interviews for the University of Texas Football Relations Department, and I think it can be something that would be enjoyable as a profession. Over the past few years, I have done a few television and newspaper interviews. This has enhanced my interest in communications. However, I strongly believe that I need an in depth education at the graduate level.

My IE Pre-Grad mentor was Dallas Griffin. Dallas, is a former teammate of mine, and he is in his second year of the MBA program at the University of Texas. Our supervisor is Dr. Michael Lauderdale. Dr. Lauderdale is a professor in the Social Work Department. My goal for this pre-internship class was to learn as much as I can about business, how it affects everyday life, and how it applies to the athletic aspect of life. I especially wanted to learn about the recent problems that we've been having with the stock market, and the bankruptcy filings of well-established companies. I was eager to learn, and had many questions to ask. I have learned that the main causes of this are the recession. Just recently, economist announced that it had started December of 2007.

I came to find that, automakers were burned out because of these problems. In fact companies like General Motors, which is notorious for producing automobiles, had lost more than $18 billion dollars this year. We learned in addition to this, gas prices began to sky rocket. A lot of this was an effect of the war, and limited resources, and thus, began to affect the stock market. Therefore, it was harder for auto manufactures to sell a vehicle, and those purchasing them, to drive them. That is why you saw a drop in sales.

However, recently the prices have gone down. In our discussions, Dallas, my mentor, has deepened my understanding as to why gas prices have been dropping over the last couple of months. The research that we have done has shown that there is a direct correlation with the price of crude oil dropping to about $70 a barrel. I have also come to understand that the prices will not shoot back for a little while. However, this is not saying that they cannot, or will not, experts just think it will take a little while. They are thinking that in a couple months to a year it will shoot back to what it was at previously ($120 a barrel). Due to oil being such a big part of our energy, and the stock market, it has caused insiders' share sales to rise. This happens when the executives own big stakes in the companies they run. Due to the recent destruction of wealth in the stock market, executives that own shares in a company are forced to dump those shares, which in turn affect their shareholders. Dallas has had a first-hand experience of how oil has had an effect on our economy. He talked about Matt Simmons, and how he has theorized the idea of oil beginning to run low, and how it will eventually lead to another economic depression. The big problem within the industry is that there is a lot of potential for those involved to get cheated. This is such a big deal because there is so much invested in oil in the United States, and other Middle Eastern countries. Oil is more of a problem than people want to believe. Where my father is from in Nigeria, oil is one of the main resources. It is instrumental in the running of the country. In addition to this, the government is totalitarian, so they are in control of those resources. With the depletion of oil, and big name companies coming to pump, the source gets depleted and causes many problems for the people there. It is very similar in the United States of America. Losing oil means that jobs will become scarce. In third world countries that is the main resource. When it runs out, civil unrest occurs.

Under the direction and shadow of Dallas Griffin, I have learned so much in regards to our economy, and business communication. Dallas has instructed me that a graduate studies degree in media and advertising, or trying to attain my MBA will prepare me professionally for the future as follows:

To learn about interactions of media, sports, the stock market, and especially how each side uses the other to promote their business.

To learn how advertising could be used to positively promote college sports programs like that of the University of Texas, especially in the area of academics. I believe that as a graduate student, I can be a good role model for incoming student-athletes who can look up to me and feel they too can graduate with a degree from the University of Texas.

Prepare me for possible employment in Sports Broadcasting, Production, or other business opportunities that deal with power and energy.

Prepare me for possible employment in teaching and leadership. Especially at the high school level where I can use my education in history and advertising, and business to communicate leadership, character, and educational achievement to young students.

A graduate degree might even prepare me to work for the University of Texas, or allow other networking opportunities.

Finally, it will afford me the opportunity to contribute in a very small way to the intellectual diversity at The University of Texas.

Besides the above advantages, a graduate degree will help me to empower young minds to invest in themselves academically. There is not a more powerful tool to achieve this besides using the media. That is why I want to pursue a graduate degree. I pray that I will be given the opportunity to fulfill this dream.