Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at Isenberg

Alfonso N. Cornish II, PhD Student, 2017

Hometown: Washington, DC
Previous Education: Florida A&M University - B.S. in Business Administration (Concentration: Accounting) and MBA (Concentration: Corporate Finance); University of Wisconsin Law School - JD
Previous Work Experience:  After obtaining my MBA, I worked at a Fortune 500 corporation in the areas of corporate finance and strategy.  I worked there for five years and then decided to go to law school.  After graduating from law school, I worked for four years at two large law firms as a litigator, concentrating on intellectual property and sports law.

 Favorite Class at Isenberg: Conceptual Foundations of Organizational Studies with Dr. Marta B. Calas

Favorite Amherst Restaurants: Ginger Garden

Favorite Western Mass Activities: Camping, biking, and hiking
Why UMass? In light of my background in business and law, it was important that I found a top-notch sports management program that was fully integrated into a business school. After much research, it became clear to me that there was only one place for me to explore my research interests: The Isenberg School of Management.  Further, I chose UMass because of the opportunity to collaborate with several of the world-renowned professors in the School of Management.
Is UMass what you expected? My experience at UMass has been all I expected and more.  My classes are challenging, yet enjoyable.  Additionally, my colleagues are enthusiastic, focused, and friendly. 
What are your research goals? My area of interest is leadership. Specifically, I plan to research the impact transactional and transformational leaders have on organizational innovation and culture.
Any advice for people applying to a doctoral program? Do your homework. Take the time to visit programs that interest you.  PhD programs come in all shapes and sizes, and you'll want to find one that fits with your personality and research interests. 



Soyoung Joo, Ph.D. Student

Hometown: Seoul, South Korea

Previous Education: BS Chemistry, Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea), MBA/MS Sports Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Work History: Project Leader at Chivas USA and Manager of Marketing & Communications at Korean Professional Football League - the one where you actually use your foot.

Favorite Class(es) at Isenberg: Sport Marketing with Dr. Fink, Sociology with Dr. Crosset, Labor Relations with Professor Masteralexis, and MBA consulting project with Professor McKelvey.

Favorite Amherst Restaurants: For good eats from the Motherland, Gohyang Korean Restaurant. For a lazy Sunday morning, Lone Wolf.

Favorite Western Mass Activities: Hot Chocolate Run, 5k Dash & Dine, playing with mallard ducks and chipmunks, and trips to Yankee Candle to see Santa.

Why UMass? It had to be UMass. The pedigree of the UMass Sport Management Program, the experience of the faculty, the support from the business school - the list goes on and on.

Is UMass what you expected? I had no idea what to expect as an international student from South Korea. After 19 hours on a plane, I came to UMass for my MBA/MS dual degree; but I came away with so much more. My academic journey, classmates, and professors have been more than I could have asked for, and my life here has been more than I ever could have imagined. I truly believe that I am meant to be here. It has been such a wonderful experience. So here I am, once again (cue Kelly Clarkson music) to continue my education and pursue my PhD.

What are your research goals? Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sport Marketing. In particular, I'd like to research authentic CSR in sports.

Any advice for people applying to a doctoral program? Know exactly what your research interest is and thoroughly research different programs that align with those interests - considering both the institution and faculty. Listen to what the little voice in your head tells you.



Ben Larkin, PhD Student, 2017 

Hometown: Auburn, ME

Previous Education: BS Business Administration, University of Maine, Orono; MS Sport Management, Southern New Hampshire University.


Work History: Four years as Head of Customer Relations at Lepage Bakeries, Inc., Auburn, ME; One year at New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Manchester, NH.

Favorite Class(es) at Isenberg: As this is my first semester, I have not yet begun the sport marketing seminar. Due to my research interests, I anticipate that this will be my favorite class. I have also enjoyed Dr. Longley's sport economics seminar.

Favorite Amherst Restaurants: Black Sheep, Judie's

Favorite Western Mass Activities: Anything outdoors; going to downtown Northampton; trying different restaurants

Why UMass? The fact that the sport management department was fully integrated into the Isenberg School of Management, as well as the reputation of both the sport management department and Isenberg were both big draws. In addition, faculty research interests were fairly well aligned with my own.

Is UMass what you expected? I have been very satisfied thus far.

What are your research goals? I am interested in the motivation and behavior of consumers in the sport industry. Specifically, I am interested in non-traditional consumption methods (i.e. those beyond event attendance) that are proliferating in appeal. While the research in this area is beginning to grow, it remains relatively sparse. My goal is to be instrumental in the development of this research stream.

Any advice for people applying to a doctoral program? First and foremost, I would highly recommend finding a topic of interest and working on a master's thesis. Doctoral programs are extremely research intensive and familiarizing yourself with the relevant literature in your area of interest and applicable methodological techniques prior to beginning the program will put you ahead of the game and ready to start building your CV during the program. Second, do your homework. Consider multiple programs, make live campus visits if able, and find the perfect match for you both personally and from a research interest standpoint. Deciding on a doctoral program is a big decision and should be treated as such.


Ryan Spalding, PhD Candidate, 2014

Hometown: Palatine, IL

Previous Education: BS Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, Purdue University; MS Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University; MBA/MS Sports Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst.


Work History: Three years at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Sunnyvale, CA.

Favorite Class(es) at Isenberg: Sport Economics with Dr. Longley.

Favorite Amherst Restaurants: Does Taco Bell count as an Amherst restaurant?

Favorite Western Mass Activities: Trips to Deals and Steals (Northampton) and Aldi (Hadley) for some low cost food stuffs.

Why UMass? The integration of the sport management department into the School of Management was the initial draw for me, as well its outstanding reputation.

Is UMass what you expected? I came here for the MBA/MS dual degree and was so satisfied by the program and faculty that I decided to continue with the PhD!

What are your research goals? I am interested in sport economics, and in particular would love to perform some research on the professional poker industry.

Any advice for people applying to a doctoral program? Look into as many programs as possible to find the perfect match for you.  In particular, investigate the faculty to find someone whose interests align with your own.


Mujde Yuksel, PhD Candidate, 2014

Hometown: Istanbul, Turkey


Previous Education: Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, MBA in Sport Management


Favorite Class(es) at Isenberg: Behavioral and social science in marketing, Qualitative research, Theory and science in marketing


Favorite Amherst Restaurants: Moti, Lone Wolf


Favorite Western Mass Activities: Hiking and biking, attending UMass sports games, Calvin Theater concerts, UMass Fine Arts Center events


Why UMass? UMass is internationally known for its expertise and excellence in Sport Management. Specifically, the program being integrated into the Business School has played an important role in my decision.


Is UMass what you expected? My first year experience in UMass has given me more than I expected. Besides the valuable education we get in the doctoral program, my colleagues and the faculty have been extremely helpful and guiding.


What are your research goals? My area of interest is Sports Marketing. I would like to do research in sports consumption, specifically motives in consumer behavior and consumer subcultures. 


Any advice for people applying to a doctoral program? You should definitely do an extensive research before deciding on the program and school you want to apply. A doctoral program is a huge investment of time and hard work; therefore, you should be devoted to what you want to study.


Previous education: MBA in Sport Management, Bahcesehir University, Istanbul; B.S. in Business Administration Marmara University, Istanbul


Work history: I played basketball professionally for 10 years, and worked for the organizing committee of FIBA World Championship as Sponsorship Director for 8 months.