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Charity Auctions and the Sports “Dorkapalooza” at MIT Sloan

MIT Sloan students organize charity auctions typically twice a year. Each “ocean” (the approximately 70-person cohort with which students take their first-semester core classes) selects a charity to support and identifies items to be auctioned, such as lunch with a professor, a home-cooked meal by a student, and more unusual offerings, like having a professor chauffeur you to class in his classic car. First-year oceans compete to see which one can raise the most money, and second-year students organize a similar auction. All together, the auctions raise tens of thousands of dollars each year for such charities as the California Wildfires Fund, Children of Uganda, Pencils of Promise, Bridge Over Troubled Waters, and the Sloan Social Impact Fellowship.

MIT Sloan students are active in organizing conferences as well. Did you know that some of the biggest names in sports have met annually since 2007 for an event at the school that former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons once described as “dorkapalooza”? At the student-run Sports Analytics Conference, participants discuss the increasing role of analytics in the sports industry, and students have ample opportunity to network with the elite of the sports world.

The 13th annual conference was held over two days in March 2019 in Boston, where more than 3,500 attendees witnessed industry experts, leaders, and professionals participate in more than 30 panel discussions. Among the event’s speakers were the president of ESPN, the president and CEO of the Miami Dolphins, and the president of Ticketmaster. The panels covered such topics as “Ticketing Analytics: The Power of Open Distribution,” “Breaking Away from the Pack: Sports Entrepreneurship,” “Metrics Are the Mike: Football Analytics,” “Sports Mythbusting,” and “Scoring Sponsorships: Metrics to Maximize Brand Value.” Other conference events included a research papers exhibition, such workshops as “R for Predictive Modeling” and “How to Advertise Effectively on Facebook and Instagram,” the First Pitch Case Competition, and a “Hackathon.” A second-year EMS (Entertainment, Media, and Sports) Club member told mbaMission, “The event is one of the largest student-organized conferences in the country and was named the third most innovative company in all of sports (behind only the NFL and MLB Advanced Media) by Fast Company [magazine].”

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