Marketing Degree Leads to Career in the NBA
Dec. 11, 2019
MISSOULA – Myles McKee-Osibodu graduated from the University on Montana in 2019 as a double major in marketing and communication studies. A two-time team captain of the Grizzlies football team, the Orange County, California native is now working for an organization he idolized as a child, the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA.
Former vice president of the UM American Marketing Association and College of Business Dean’s Student Advisory Council member, Myles is now a Media Relations Associate for the Lakers. Myles was gracious enough to answer the following questions for the College of Business and share his story and experiences.
Why did you choose the University of Montana?
In all honesty, as an impressionable, 19-year-old, transfer student-athlete, I was sold on UM pretty much purely off of the atmosphere, culture and community support behind the football program. In hindsight, choosing a school primarily based off of the cachet of the football program probably wasn’t the most well-thought-out vetting process but if you’ve ever spent a football Saturday at Washington-Grizzly Stadium, I’m sure you can understand how it’s a pretty tough place not to fall in love with. Fortunately, not only did I choose a top-notch football program, but I also chose a top-notch university.
What motivated you to major in business?
As an athlete, the competitive, collaborative and result-oriented nature of the business world had always been something that I was instinctively drawn to. I transferred to UM majoring in communication studies but it didn’t take long for me to notice the steady trend of students graduating from the College of Business and landing killer opportunities straight out of school. The combination of the natural intrigue I had in business and the seemingly-endless potential for opportunity after graduation just made me feel like there wasn’t anywhere on campus that I belonged more than in the College of Business.
Were there any faculty or staff members in the College of Business that really helped you as a student inside or outside of the classroom?
There’s a lot of College of Business faculty that I can point to as being impactful or inspirational, but nobody stands out like Estella Anderson in the Student Success Center! Estella was a breath of fresh air, a bottomless source of encouragement and an invaluable resource for both personal and professional development. Nobody but your mom is going to be more genuinely invested in helping you succeed than Estella!
How did your experience at UM help prepare you for success in your current position?
As a junior at UM, aware that my days as a student-athlete would soon be coming to an end, I found myself looking for opportunities to break into the sports industry once I had officially reached ‘washed-up athlete’ status. Fortunately, I came across an opportunity to intern with the UM Athletics’ Marketing department which later turned into a paid position working in the Sports Information department (publicity, essentially) at UM Athletics. Coming out of school with two bachelor’s degrees, two years of sports industry experience and the confidence that I developed through the education and experience I received at UM seemed to be the formula that helped me land an opportunity with the Lakers.
What did you enjoy the most about being a student at the University of Montana?
Just the complete change of scenery! I had spent my entire life in southern California before I transferred to UM and I really wasn’t even aware of what a place like Montana had to offer. Long term, California is definitely the place for me, but I think it was really important to gain the perspective that living in Montana offered. I’m glad to be out of the snow and back at the beach but I couldn’t be more appreciative of my time in Missoula! Montana will always hold a special place in my heart.
How did you end up with the Lakers?
After graduation, like most new college graduates, I moved back home without an exact plan of what was to come next. I took on three different side-gigs bussing tables, doing manual labor and delivering Thai food. Even if it wasn’t in either of my fields of study, it was important for me to start grinding as soon as I got back home, not only to pay the bills, but I also wanted to make sure I kept myself in a productive and hustling state of mind while I bought myself time to search for the right career move. As the old cliché goes, the first step is often the hardest step. As true as I think that is, an important lesson I learned from athletics is that that first step is also probably going to be your most important step so you’re going to want to get it right.
Meanwhile, whenever I wasn’t working, I spent almost all my time applying for any job that seemed even remotely up my alley. Fortunately, I ended up with more than a handful of interviews, each of which resulted in a job offer, so by the time my last interview came around (the Lakers), I was prepared enough and confident enough to walk into the office of my dream employer and convince them that I was the guy for the job!
What do you enjoy the most about your job?
Everything! The behind-the-scenes access, the energy of STAPLES Center on game days, the casual interactions I get to have with some of the biggest stars on the planet, but most of all, just being able to contribute to and be a part of the Lakers franchise! It truly is a childhood dream come true! As a kid, I obviously dreamed of being on the court but being paid to sit courtside is a pretty decent alternative.
What advice do you have for current business students beginning to launch their careers?
Well I mean, I’m only about four months into launching my own career so I don’t know how much water my advice can really carry, but I guess I’d say the biggest thing is to stay hungry and stay confident. I think that taking all of those jobs that a lot of fresh college graduates might think of as “beneath” them really helped me grow because I knew I was capable of so much more. Wiping tables, setting up stages, and delivering pad thai only motivated me to hustle that much harder so that I wouldn’t have to spend another minute doing these jobs that I hated. At the same time, it’s important to recognize your self-worth and be selective with the opportunities that come across your path. It’s easy to get excited about the first bite you get on the river, but it’s often not going to be the biggest fish you catch. Luckily, a degree from UM’s College of Business is going to be some of the best bait you can find around!
The University of Montana is the flagship university of the state. The College of Business at UM is nationally renowned and has been named the top business school in the Big Sky Conference by U.S. News and World Report for four consecutive years.