Informational Interview- Ticket Operations Supervisor

At one point in everyone’s life they should think about conducting an informational interview with someone in their career field of interest. This is an informal interview with an expert to gain real work knowledge about what the person does for a living. This is also a great way to practice your interviewing skills even though you are the one asking the questions. There is a large amount of value in conducting an informational interview, and you are able to make a connection which may help you out in the future when you’re job searching.

The Contact

  • Name: Ashley Geldert
  • Title/Position: Ticket Operations Supervisor
  • Company: Minnesota Twins
  • Industry: Sports Marketing

Questions about the Contact

“Can you describe one of your typical workdays?”

Right now Ms. Geldert is currently working on printing tickets for the upcoming Florida Georgia Line concert here at Target Field in the summer. Her and co-workers work closely with Ticket Master to make sure they have the correct tickets available for people to purchase to come to the show. She also works on processing internal orders for executives. When she is not working on the concert tickets, she is preparing for the season opener by getting those tickets sent out to season ticket holders and printing single game tickets. One thing that is very interesting about the ticketing process is the fact that the Minnesota Twins are one of the only teams in the MLB to print in house tickets (instead of a third party printing tickets). She said this is so because the company takes pride in creating, designing, printing, and reviewing each and every ticket that is printed out for fans. This is a great thing to do because the Minnesota Twins is all about creating the best experience possible for fans, starting from the design of a ticket and ending with walking through the gates after the last hit in the 9th inning.

“What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?”

Ms. Geldert played sports in high school and was very interested in how a sports team was ran and what were all the behind the scenes activities that it took to run a game. She didn’t play any NCAA sports in college but she did join her college’s club lacrosse team. She ended up being voted in as President and Captain of the team, while being a player. With these roles she was in charge of all the equipment that was needed to play lacrosse, what tournaments the team would play in, and where they would get the money from. She had to learn the many logistics that went into running a club lacrosse team. Her senior year of college she attended the Minnesota Twins Internship Fair and was offered an internship with a semi-pro football team in Minnesota. She said that the company needed to improve on how every thing was ran and operated, but she stuck with it because she knew it would be good experience for her. The next year she went to another Internship Fair and submitted her resume with the Minnesota Twins and was offered a part-time internship in the ticketing office and her career took off from there.

“What are the major qualifications for success in this occupation?”

Ms. Geldert said there are three main qualifications for success in sports marketing; experience, customer service, and well rounded business experience. It is important to have experience in working with a professional team, club team, or even college teams. She said this is the way where you can learn how sports are ran behind the scenes. It’s not all about glamour and glitz and who the best players are on each team, it’s about the little details and the operations of a game from start to finish. She said you have to think about how the fan’s will get to the ballpark and when they get here where can they park? How will they be able to purchase food while at a baseball game or merchandise? It’s all the little details that someone wouldn’t necessarily think about. The second qualification is customer service. The Minnesota Twins are all about providing the best service and experience to their loyal fan base and those who don’t always make it to a game. Being able to answer customer questions and address concerns is a key skill that is needed in sports marketing. The last qualification Ms. Geldert talked about is having knowledge of a well rounded business person. Someone who is familiar with accounting and marketing. She said this can be learned through courses at school or even your own personal experiences when you come to the ball park. All you have to do is look around and model what others are doing and shape your behavior off of their example.

Questions about Communications Practices and Writing

“Could you please describe the typical kinds of writing you do and tell me a bit about each?”

Ms. Geldert said she doesn’t do too much writing besides email to communicate. The communications department or marketing department will handle most of the communication process. Communication is done with internally through the company or by email.

“What do you find most challenging about your day-to-day writing? What challenges do recent graduates face as they move from “academic writing” to “workplace writing”?”

She said that when emailing others it can be difficult to understand the tone of voice the message is in. When this happens Ms. Geldert likes to call the person she is emailing so she is able to tell how the other person is feeling, instead of assuming or guessing through the email. As an example, she will call a customer personally after receiving an email stating something negative about their experience. This way she can make a connection with the customer and try to help solve the concerns that the customer had ,while also determining the emotion behind the message. When switching from “academic writing” to “workplace writing” the customers you will deal with are older than those who are graduating or who have recently graduated. The demographics for the Minnesota Twins is between ages 24–40. When creating emails and letters to those demographics you need to be at their level of communication.

“How would you describe the balance between written and oral communication in your workplace?”

Most internal communication is written or by email. Since the Twins do their spring training in Florida there are companies based in Florida and Minnesota and many people are traveling between the two states, so email is an easier way to communicate. There is a lot of communication through the phone with customers in order for employees to make a good connection between the Twins employees and the fans that they talk to.

Questions seeking Advice for you

“How can I evaluate whether I have the necessary skills for a position such as yours?”

To evaluate whether I have the necessary skills for a position in sports marketing, Ms. Geldert had five questions that I needed to ask myself. These questions were; 1. do you like to work with people on a day to day basis? 2. Do you have the time commitment in order to work in the field of sports marketing? 3. Do you have the drive and motivation to finish products day to day? 4. Do you love sports? 5. Do you love how processes work from start to finish (printing a ticket to getting fans into the ball park).

“What other advice do you have for someone just starting out working for a professional sports team?”

Ms. Geldert expressed that experience is the best thing for someone to do who is looking to get into sports marketing. It doesn’t all have to be experience in sports marketing. Ms. Geldert said that experience in retail, customer service, and being able to work with people and help them with their questions and concerns.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

I learned that it is beneficial to make connections and reach out to people so you are able to receive tips and hints as to how to make your way into the career field of your choice. To learn from someone else who is already in their career is one of the best ways to prepare yourself for your future.

I was surprised to learn that my serving job has many skills that I would be able to transfer over to working with a professional sports team. All sports teams put emphasis on customer relations and customer service skills and working as a server has helped me develop in that area.

The main idea that I was able to take away from this interview was to get as much experience has I can before I go into sports marketing. This is important for any job but being able to get first hand experience working with a sports team puts me above other candidates who may not have has much experience.

In the future I will be more willing to reach out to others and ask for advice as to how to prepare myself for my career. Overall there’s not much I would do differently in the future now that I have had this experience.