ACES – Carly Levy

Polaris Alumni Board ACES, Alumni Stories

Carly Levy graduated in 2014 and works as a graduate assistant for the University of Alabama Athletic Department.

1.) What do you do on a typical day at work?

I am currently a Graduate Assistant at Alabama Athletics in the Crimson Tide Foundation. I support the full time staff here in fundraising for the $600 million Crimson Standard Initiative. This includes donor stewardship, Crimson Tide Scholarship Fund renewal phone calls, and assisting full time staff with additional projects. My time in Athletics is typically 30 hours a week, and the remainder of my week is dedicated to being a full-time MBA student concentrating in Strategic Marketing & Management.

2.) How did you come across this opportunity?

My mentor, Greg Byrne, started encouraging me immediately post undergrad to pursue a higher degree, specifically an MBA. When I was ready to return to school, I reached out to Greg, who had transitioned from Athletic Director at Arizona to Athletic Director at Alabama. He connected me with the department heads I had interest in working for, and I determined that Development at the Crimson Tide Foundation would provide ample opportunity for growth and to learn from some of the best in the industry.

3.) What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is learning about student-athlete’s success post college. The fundraising efforts of the Crimson Tide Foundation truly make an impact on the student-athletes by providing scholarships and facilities, the athletics programs generate revenue in the community and bring publicity to the University, and the increase in enrollment and public attention brings in more donations to continue the cycle. 

4.) What skills do you find important in your industry?

It’s crucial to appreciate the small things and find joy in parts of your job to avoid burnout. Working in sports is mentally exhausting, requires hard work, and does not typically result in compensation equivalent to peers in other industries. I make sure to appreciate small moments to boost my energy. For example, I will take a stroll around the Alabama football stadium on a non game day and remind myself how special this opportunity is. Find those special moments and use them to boost your drive.

5.) In what ways did Eller prepare you for your job?

Being an accounting student in Eller required mental toughness, commitment to pushing through challenges, and the confidence to believe in my own success. The struggles I faced in classes plus balancing a busy schedule of interning and clubs and a social life prepared me to embrace the difficult periods in my career. Graduating from Eller in accounting, a major which challenged me, is a constant reminder that I am capable if I continue working hard.

6.) Advice for student looking to enter your industry/company?

My advice for a successful career in sports business is based on three things; first is hard work. It’s a bare minimum to work hard and prove your abilities, but having true drive, self motivation, and determination will boost you to the next level. Secondly, networking is essential. Set up informational interviews with anyone and everyone who you have interest in and is willing. Use resources like family and friend connections, staff in Arizona Athletics, people you find on LinkedIn, etc. You can have zero relationship or connection with them and still reach out to ask about their success and what advice they have for you to achieve your own. The worst someone can say is they don’t have time for you, and that’s really not a big deal. Lastly, find happiness in what you do. If you don’t find joy in your day’s work, you de-value the energy you exert and the product you produce. This does not mean there are parts of every job that are undesirable, but don’t settle in the wrong role hoping that it will all be worth it some day. 

7.) Your favorite UA/Eller memory?

My favorite UA memory is working at Arizona Athletics in 2010 when both Men’s Basketball and Football were ranked within the top 10 in the country. Not only is this simply rare, but being a current student, a native to Tucson, and an intern in the department made this even more special.