Huntington, Ind.—It all starts with a dream. Huntington College graduate Brandon Schall met his dream face to face for the first time in high school. He remembers it literally springing out of the pages of the book, Winning Every Day, by Lou Holtz: “Whatever your dream is, whatever your desire is, pursue that.”
These challenging words from the legendary football coach touched something deep inside Schall, prompting him to give thought to what the next years of his life would hold.
“After I read that book, I started thinking, ‘What is it that I really enjoy doing?’” reflected Schall, who is originally from Kokomo, Ind. “I realized that I really wanted to get into the business side of sports and see what it was like to interact with sports franchises around the country.”
In 1999, Schall’s dream brought him to Huntington College, where he pursued a degree in business. Throughout his years at Huntington, Schall began turning his dream into a reality.
One of Schall’s business professors, Dr. Ann McPherren, introduced him to American Specialty, an organization that offers insurance and risk management services for the sports and entertainment industry. Schall and one other student worked on a project that measured the regional economic impact of the Roanoke, Indiana company. The research project opened doors to a summer internship with American Specialty.
But Schall did not begin as a rookie intern. He had already completed a previous internship with a minor league baseball team. That experience not only shaped the way he viewed his summer with American Specialty, it dramatically altered how he saw his future.
“Internships give you the opportunity to experience a job that you think you may enjoy without being committed to it,” Schall explained. “I had always thought I wanted to work for a professional sports team. I envisioned working in the front office of a Major League Baseball team someday. Once I was done with my first internship, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my future. I’m not sure I would have seen that as clearly if it weren’t for that internship.”
Schall’s summer at American Specialty proved to be entirely different and an invaluable experience. Upon graduation in 2003, Schall pursued full-time employment with the company.
“Brandon came highly recommended by Professor Jim O’Donnell,” said Pete Eshelman, President and CEO of American Specialty. “We didn’t have a position for Brandon, yet I knew he was a home run. I liked Brandon’s tenacity to follow up with me. He had excellent people, communication and writing skills, as well as a great education. Brandon had clarity on what he wanted to do.”
Schall’s persistence paid off. Today, “Brandon is in charge of the entire Major League Baseball account – 30 teams,” Eshelman said. “The sky’s the limit!”
Now living his dream of working in the sports industry, Schall appreciates all the lessons learned at Huntington College. “The concentrated effort of the faculty to bring Christian principles into the classroom is invaluable,” Schall said. “Once you get out of the classroom, this gives you a good basis for approaching the business world with a Christ-centered worldview.”
He is also grateful for the many opportunities he had to gain field experience through internships. “Ten years from now I won’t be able to take six months off of my job and say, ‘I think I’m going to go try working for a pro sports team and see where that takes me,’” he said. “While you’re at college, you have that freedom to pursue those things that interest you and figure out what you do or don’t want to pursue later in life.”
Schall said Huntington College provided the keys to unlocking his dreams – a solid, values-based academic program, professors that took an individual interest in his goals, and opportunities to gain hands-on experience in his chosen field.
He encourages other college-bound students to have faith in their dreams. “Whatever your dream is, pursue that. Whatever your passion is, pursue that. Somebody has to do that job and there’s nobody here to say that it can’t be you.”