Marcus Vazquez, ‘12, has seen his share of ups and downs, but he has the knowledge and skills needed in the sports world to land on his feet. See how he’s managed to overcome setbacks and remain positive:
Tell me about yourself.
I’ve had my share of heartaches and setbacks growing up in Fenton, Michigan. I played hockey, baseball and football throughout my high school days. I loved sports. I lost my best friend as a junior. We said we would someday work together in sports. I think of him often and that’s what keeps me focused on my career. My father died when I was 21 years old. I became legal guardian and conservator of my 12-year-old brother. It was pretty hard. Many 21-year-old college students don’t have to think about raising a younger sibling. I enrolled in sports management at Davenport University in Flint. I ended up commuting to Grand Rapids three days a week. I was part of student life and it was really cool. I was able to take the old popcorn machine to Flint to try to give the Flint students the college experience that I saw in Grand Rapids. After I earned my bachelors degree my house ended up foreclosing because there was a payment on it. At the time, being a college student and taking care of my brother didn’t leave me with the funds to refinance the house. I had to move to Tampa, Florida with my uncle. I didn’t let that stop me from getting my masters at a college there.
Why did you choose DU?
I decided to go to DU because the sports management program focused a lot on your networking, and it required two internships. I was able to work at internships near my home, which allowed me to still take care of my brother. I loved the flexibility. I was able to take classes in Flint, Grand Rapids and even online, which helped me tremendously with the situation I was in. Also, the professors at Davenport care about you and your success.
My first internship was with the Flint Generals Hockey team. That’s where I learned I loved ticket sales. Once I earned my masters degree I started working with the Minnesota Vikings and that’s how my NFL career started. I took first place in ticket sales in the 2014-2015 season. I moved back to Michigan and started selling tickets for the Detroit Lions. I generated over 1 million dollars in ticket sales for them. The story kind of goes haywire after that. I was working the training camp and Theo Riddick had a cousin who wanted to play in the NFL again after recovering from an injury. My dream job has always been to be a sports agent. I thought I would help this guy out by sending all of the NFL teams his tape. In the end, it got me fired from the Lions. I unintentionally violated their branding laws. That devastated me, but I didn’t let this setback get me down for long. I learned from my mistake and I kept on moving. I subsequently got a job with the United Shores Baseball League and I am now with the Michigan International Speedway’s sponsorship division.
After graduation what has life been like for you?
My career has been all over the place. I went from making $100,000 to $22,000 a year just because of one mistake. I was momentarily blindsided, but I realized I have new opportunities out there waiting for me. It has been a bumpy road, but an amazing learning experience and it’s all starting to work out and pay off in the end.
What advice do you have for current students at Davenport?
I hope my story is some sort of advice for them. I have been through a lot but I never gave up on my degree or career. There will always be setbacks. It all depends on how you handle them that will determine how successful you will be. Networking sites like LinkedIn can be extremely helpful. Remember, being online and behind a screen is one thing, but going out to seminars and luncheons are the best way to make connections. When you meet someone, talk and network with them in person, that’s when you build your brand.