Category: GEMA, GEMA Externship

Title:GEMA Externship: Where Are They Now? – Kara Korber (B’16), AEG/LA Galaxy

GEMA launched its annual Externship Program in 2003, a unique experience where Georgetown seniors and graduate students spend one week in Los Angeles or New York during spring break meeting with a number of alumni from a variety of fields in entertainment and media. Over 200 students and more than 500 alumni have participated in the program over its first 21 years and many of the externs have gone on to roles across the media landscape. In our series The GEMA Externship: Where Are They Now?, we reconnect with past Externs to find out how their careers have progressed since graduation.

In her role, Korber builds and executes new properties in domestic and international soccer. Projects she leads include Soccer Champions Tour, an annual U.S. tour of global powerhouse clubs including Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Manchester United, and the Coachella Valley Invitational, a new MLS preseason event held on the iconic grounds of AEG’s music festivals in Indio, CA.

What was your first “big break” into your industry? Or, what is the most significant experience you have had that has made your success possible?

I truly consider the GEMA Externship to be my first real break into the industry. I grew up on the East coast in a family of doctors and scientists, so I had no network in the sports and entertainment industry when I entered Georgetown. I also lacked a fundamental understanding of career paths and opportunities in the business, so being accepted to the Externship was a pivotal moment for me.

The program expanded my network tenfold. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to learn what it actually meant to work in the various areas of sports and entertainment that I had been curious about. Equally as important, it shed light on careers I hadn’t contemplated before or didn’t even know existed.

The Externship also directly helped me land my first job: via an informational interview I had at Sports Illustrated during the Externship, I was fortunate enough to be offered a role on the content team a few weeks after returning to campus. As someone who had dreamed of working in sports journalism since high school, it was a dream-come-true, pinch-me moment to accept my first job at Sports Illustrated.

What was your first job?

I started my career as a Production Assistant on the video team at Sports Illustrated based out of the Time Inc. headquarters in lower Manhattan. Back in 2016, legacy print brands like Sports Illustrated were hyper focused on adapting to a digital world, so the video side of the business was an exciting place to be. The team I worked on was translating the storytelling power of SI to a new medium, so that meant building new studio shows, quick content series, social media platforms and even full-length documentaries.

As a Production Assistant I got to do it all: writing, editing, research, social media, on-set support and occasionally (my favorite) reporting from the field. Towards the end of my time at SI, I was writing, hosting and editing a weekly social media show and even had the opportunity to cover the red carpet at the ESPYs. Working at Sports Illustrated was an incredible experience, and one that I will always remember fondly.

What do you do in your job now? What is your favorite part of your current position?

In my current role, I build and execute new ventures in domestic and international soccer for AEG and the LA Galaxy. Projects I spearhead include Soccer Champions Tour, an annual U.S. tour of global powerhouse clubs including Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Manchester United, and the Coachella Valley Invitational, a new MLS preseason event held on the iconic grounds of AEG’s music festivals in Indio, CA.

Aside from the excitement that comes with getting to work with the most iconic clubs in the world, what I value most about this role is how much I get to learn. Our department is small and extremely cross-functional, so we work across every vertical of sport business. From closing stadium deals to ticketing, marketing, sponsorship, broadcast, merchandise, operations and strategy, I get to learn the basics in every pillar of the business. The opportunity to learn and develop new skills was one of the primary reasons I took the job, and I’m very grateful to my boss (and fellow Hoya!) Tom Braun for teaching me every day.

What part(s) of the Externship did you find most valuable?

Aside from helping me land my first job, one aspect of the Externship I found to be really valuable was practice managing a back-to-back schedule. Thanks to my amazing Externship coordinator, my schedule was jam-packed with meetings all over New York City. The practice I got preparing for a high volume of meetings, navigating a new city, remaining on time and promptly following up was extremely valuable for my life post-graduation.

What was your experience like attending Georgetown? Were there any particularly formative experiences that were special to you?

I loved Georgetown. Aside from meeting my husband, working for the Athletic Department was one of the most meaningful experiences I had at Georgetown. Starting freshman year I worked as a Sports Information Assistant, primarily covering men’s basketball games. I began by running stats around the floor and generally assisting the Sports Information Director, and eventually worked my way up to writing the post-game recaps for the website. This was my first job in sports, and it cemented my love for the industry. The connections I was able to make in this role vastly expanded my network and led to my college internships with Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and ESPN.

From a personal perspective, for a kid who had grown up right down the road in Maryland and had always been a fan of Georgetown Basketball (my Dad is a Hoya), getting to be on the court at the Verizon Center for basketball games was a really cool experience.

What’s your advice for an undergraduate trying to break into your industry? Is there anything you would tell your younger self now?

Be patient, and don’t be afraid to pivot. This is something I wish I could have told my younger self. The sports and entertainment industry is extremely competitive – it takes time and a lot of hard work to land the type of roles you dream of as an undergrad. Chances are, you aren’t going to fulfill your career goals two years out of college, and that’s ok! If you’re like me, your goals may even change a few years out of college. Looking back, I wish I had put a little less pressure on myself to have everything figured out by age 23. The longer I work, the more I recognize that careers are a journey, not a destination.

Name someone in your career who has been a valuable mentor or role model to you and why?

I feel really fortunate to have found great mentors throughout my career, and many of them have come to me via the Georgetown network.

Mex Carey, who was the Sports Information Director at Georgetown while I was working in the athletic department, played a huge role in encouraging and supporting my interest in sports in my early days. Starting freshman year Mex gave me opportunities to grow and learn the business when I had zero experience, and he spent many hours coaching me along the way.

I also feel lucky to call my current boss, Tom Braun, a mentor. In just one year of working together, Tom has taught me more about the business of sports than anyone else over the course of my career. He’s incredibly sharp and hard working, and he motivates me to keep pushing the boundaries of our industry every day. I’d also like to mention Tom’s wife Raquel (another Hoya) who has continuously set a powerful example for women working in sports.

Finally, Rich Battista has been without a doubt the most impactful mentor I’ve had. Since the moment I met him senior year at Georgetown, Rich has helped me unlock opportunity and navigate moments of transition at every step of my career. He is my first call when I need advice, and no matter how busy he is, he always makes time for me. Few people have made such a meaningful impact on my life. Thanks, Rich!

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