Play ball! Meet Nicole Thalacker, University Center Information Services Student Manager who attends UW-Whitewater and is majoring in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. In addition to working at the UC, Nicole also spent the summer as a Consumer Relations Intern for the Milwaukee Brewers. Read on to learn more about her experiences in baseball and life.
What is the most valuable skill or lesson you have learned while working either for the Brewers or at the UC?
I’ll share one of each. For the Brewers, it would definitely be sports marketing tactics in general, and how different those are from the typical ones you learn in marketing classes. It’s very hands-on, and I think it’s important for anyone to recognize the behind the scenes work that a typical fan doesn’t get to see.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from working at Information Services in the UC is the balance between teamwork and leadership. This year I went from being a regular student employee to being a student manager, and that transition isn’t the easiest. I’m still learning and making that transition, and it’s definitely a valuable lesson.
Can you share a humorous or interesting story from your experiences with the Brewers?
It was about my third month as an intern, and my boss had called me to just meet her in her office. As soon as I walked in, she said I would be going to an event at a school for the S.C.O.R.E. program at an elementary school in Milwaukee. I had no idea at that point that players were involved.
As we headed downstairs, I was suddenly introduced to Jonathon Lucroy, Tim Dillard, Marco Estrada, and eventually Zach Greinke. We all rode in the same car, and it was so surreal to me. I was sitting in the back middle seat, and I had Marco Estrada on one side of me and Jonathon Lucroy on the other side, and all I could think was, “Is this really happening to me right now?”
How are your two jobs interconnected? Are there any skills you learned at one that you were able to apply to the other?
Definitely! With the Milwaukee Brewers, we do a lot of promotions, everything from formulating ticket packages to distributing t-shirts and bobbleheads. It’s a lot of customer service and work with people- people who are happy, people who are angry, people who have questions. The skills that I needed for that definitely came from working at Information Services. Throughout my entire life I’ve always been very personable; I like people, and I like talking. This really helped because I was able to use the customer service skills I built at Information Services at my job with the Brewers.
What is your ideal career? How do your two positions prepare you for this?
Eventually, I would like to be a director of a media relations department at a major organization. I want to work in social media, PR, and working with people. With the Brewers internship I had the opportunity to work under a media relations director for a major organization, and that really stuck with me. Anything with marketing, PR, communications, social media is really what I see myself doing, and those are the exact skills I’ve been developing through jobs in college.
What advice do you have for students seeking internships in sports or otherwise?
No matter what, get your name out there and start to market yourself! Even if you’re just a sophomore and you’re applying but they’re only hiring juniors and seniors, it’s okay because you’re making those connections. I think it’s really important to research companies and just put yourself out there. Let them know you’re interested, even if it’s just for an informational interview. Employers aren’t going to seek you out; it’s important for you to find those people and make those connections.
For more information on Nicole, check out her “Intern of the Month” feature on the UW-W Internships blog: http://blogs.uww.edu/internships/2012/09/10/intern-spotlight-nicole-thalacker/