Emily McComb

Finding her dream job in sports management

June 18, 2023

From classroom to career: Emily McComb

It took Emily McComb half a year to find her fit at Vancouver Island University. After spending a semester exploring a nursing career, she made the switch to tourism management – a decision she’s never regretted now that she’s thriving as a sports management professional. Emily graduated from VIU in 2021 with a Bachelor of Tourism Management degree, as well as a diploma in Sports and Recreation Management and a certificate in Event Management.

What did you enjoy most about studying at VIU?

The people. My cohort was by far (and this is slightly biased) the best student cohort I could have graduated with. We were a tight-knit group all from different places and different life experiences. Apart from our studies, we organized networking events and professional development opportunities for each other. This helped set us up for personal growth in our own individual areas of sports, recreation, tourism and leisure.

I also enjoyed some of the spaces and places VIU has to offer. You would often find myself and classmates in the VIU library or in the cafeteria eating the amazing food from the culinary program. When it was nice outside, we often sat in the outdoor seating areas.

How did you get involved with the campus community?

As a recreation student, I was involved in many extracurricular activities and volunteer experiences. I was the executive secretary for the Recreation and Tourism Association, as well a student ambassador, leading tours and attending promotional events. During VIU sporting events, I often helped with the events crew and during nationals for volleyball and basketball.

Did you use any VIU services to explore career opportunities or get connected with employers that you might be interested in working for?

As part of my degree, I used co-ops to explore career opportunities. I had years of experience working in the recreation and sport industry, so I went the tourism and hospitality route for both of my co-ops. I worked at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise for two summer seasons and really loved my experiences. It helped me gain significant personal development as well as develop transferrable career skills.

What did you do after VIU?

After my studies, I was fortunate to land a position in my chosen industry (especially during a pandemic!). I worked at the Pacific Institute of Sports Education in Victoria as the adult program coordinator and transitioned into the community engagement coordinator as the inclusion committee chair. From there, I continued my journey into sports management and am now working for a Canadian national sporting team in operations and team coordination.

What do you miss most about your time at VIU?

I miss my cohort of classmates and students who I used to interact with daily. Luckily, we keep in touch through social media and networking events. I also miss the professors. They are highly talented industry professionals who helped not only myself, but the other students to learn. They really focused on our success in our industry of choice. I have even kept some of my textbooks as they are so useful for my continuing career and professional development!

How do you think that your time at VIU has prepared you for your career?

VIU has significantly prepared me for my career in the sports and recreation industry. From the diversity of classes I took, to my electives and my volunteer and student engagement activities, I felt well-prepared. Compared to other sport management programs and colleagues I have chatted with, VIU’s Sport and Recreation Management program provided me with a broad range of career knowledge and industry professionalism that has significantly benefitted me in my professional journey.

Do you have any advice for VIU students who want to do some career prep?

My advice is to spend time researching your career interests. There is so much diversity in jobs and talent ranges. You should look for correlations between your talents and your career of choice. You might be surprised at what you find! Additionally, connect with your professors, get to know them, see what they studied, and connect with your classmates. You never know how your networks might intertwine in the future.

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