From One ‘Football’ to Another
Clinton Eyong ’16 didn’t realize when he came from England to the United States to earn his MBA that he’d end up working for an NFL team. Eyong had built his athletic career on his ability to play soccer, and play it well. In fact, he had some big choices to make when he received multiple offers to play college soccer for different schools.
“I’d say it was a combination of factors that made me choose University of Findlay over other schools. Of the eight scholarship offers I received to play soccer and get my MBA degree, Findlay showed a huge and genuine interest in me. Also, having done research on the school, its MBA and soccer programs, and the city, in addition to speaking with a couple of people, I came to the conclusion that Findlay was my best option,” Eyong shared.
He’s confident that he made the right decision. “I think it was a good choice over all considering how far I’ve come. I’ve successfully played Division II soccer, worked with the Office of Marketing and Communication at UF and later took on a marketing and sales role with Marketing Home Solutions in Toledo. Now, I’m working with the Cleveland Browns,” Eyong said.
In his current position, Eyong coordinates corporate sales and activation at the team’s Berea, Ohio location. He provides market research, generates leads, participates and collaborates in sales pitches and has created a sales playbook and a partnership activation resource guide. He has also assisted with partner activations and events such as Draft Day parties, Fan Fest, and training camp held by the Cleveland Browns.
Working for a sports team was a natural fit for Eyong when he contemplated his employment search. He was looking for an opportunity that met several criteria that he established including, “Whether I’d be comfortable, whether I’d be happy and if I saw myself succeeding long term. I had interest in the world of sports from my personal experience as an athlete and I thought that working in sports would be something I could naturally be passionate about and understand,” Eyong shared. He also felt grateful for how UF fully prepared him to take the next step.
Eyong explained that, without a doubt, the University of Findlay provided him with relevant assets that enabled him to take all of the theories learned in class and directly apply them into the workplace.
“I needed the ‘book smarts’ to have a solid foundation, but all of the collaboration and group projects helped me to become more equipped to work with a team in a professional setting,” Eyong said. He also expressed how the course work has strengthened his skills.
“All the effort and research you put into projects in higher education mirror a lot of what you do in the real world. I’m researching ideas and putting them into practice all the time with the Browns,” he said. He credits UF faculty and staff for ensuring that he was well prepared for the position.
Eyong explained that he appreciated everything that Scott Grant, assistant professor for the College of Business, and Alexis Currie, experiential learning and career placement specialist, did to help him on his journey.
“From the get go, Scott believed in me, mentored me, advised me and didn’t stop until I got the job with the Browns. Regardless of the person I am today, it is because of people like him that you give 200 percent day in and day out,” he said. As for Currie, Eyong says that she “prepped me for the interviews with the Browns.”
“Alexis organized weekly drop-in sessions, mock interviews, looked over my documents several times and made sure I was the best possible candidate.” He went on to state, “I’d say I’ve never been that prepared for an interview.”
Eyong made it clear that working in a team environment is also gratifying. When asked what he enjoys the most about his job, Eyong said, “The people I work with. The people here at the Browns are a great bunch. Very willing to listen, help, point you in the right direction and ultimately put you in the best possible position for the long term. On top of that I have great supervisors I closely work with, who do everything within their power to see me grow, develop and succeed.”
So what advice does a British soccer player turned football fanatic have for current and future college students?
“Make good use of your resources: the people around you, your teachers, your mentors, faculty and staff, the internship and placement office and your coaches. All these people have your best interest at heart. Sit down and talk to them, pick their brains, get to know them better and use the advice they give you,” he suggested.
As for high school students, Eyong said, “I would advise them to listen very much to what their teachers and parents have to say but above all, go with their hearts. At the end of the day, it’s what you as an individual want to do, what you find yourself comfortable doing now, in the future and where you see yourself succeeding that’s important.