"Get your foot in the door” is a saying that entry-level job seekers hear quite often. Nick Laurila ’10 knows how to do just that.
A marketing graduate with a coaching minor, Laurila is also the video coordinator for Michigan Tech’s Division I hockey team. As far as opportunities go, his approach has been assertive. Laurila hasn’t waited for job opportunities to come to him either in his hometown area of Chicago or at Michigan Tech. He has actively sought out new ways to connect to his passions.
Laurila developed a love for sports while playing lacrosse in the Chicago area. After high school and a brief stint at the College of DuPage in Illinois, he transferred to Michigan Tech.
“I had a lot of family who went to school here—my grandpa, dad, and some of my cousins, too,” he says. “My grandpa graduated here in 1959 and became vice president of Gundlach Champion [construction company], so I knew it was a good school in a great place.”
After his first year at Tech, Laurila returned home and landed a summer internship with the Chicago Machine, a Major League Lacrosse team, as a marketing and operations intern. This helped him solidify his desire for a career in sports management.
For the Chicago Machine, Laurila put together media guides and contact lists, organized promotional street teams, and set up a kids program and fan club. During the first season, he even ran statistics for the ESPN video truck.
"You can't be afraid to talk to anybody. You might have to work for free, but do it anyway."
After the internship, Laurila returned to Tech and wasted no time looking for new opportunities, connecting with the athletics department.
“I told them I would do anything they needed and that I was hoping for something with marketing,” he says.
Athletics found a volunteer spot for Laurila working with Jonathan Hamilton, the video coordinator for the hockey team, as a marketing and promotions assistant. His work included clipping game videos, burning DVDs, and uploading them to the video exchange for the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. During the week, he started doing rink drawings and scout videos for coaches to review. Later, he branched out to other sporting events at Michigan Tech, including volleyball and basketball games.
After his Michigan Tech experience, Laurila landed another summer internship with the Chicago Machine, this time as its video coordinator—the first in Major League Lacrosse history. This past year at Michigan Tech, he was hired in a scholarship position as the video coordinator for the hockey team.
So far, the path has been a fairly smooth one for Laurila. He is confident that he will be able to accomplish his goals. He attributes part of his success to his networking skills. “I’m a people person,” he said. “You can’t be afraid to talk to anybody. You might have to work for free, but do it anyway. The most important part is getting your name out. Let people know that you’re interested.”
Laurila plans to continue his work with the University at least through the 2010–11 hockey season. He is considering graduate school at Michigan Tech. “I think I would like to work here for a few years and maybe get my MBA. Eventually I’d like to work in the NHL. That’s the long-term goal.”
Although his personality and drive have undoubtedly been key factors, Laurila states that his education is truly the foundation of his success. “Michigan Tech has prepared me to help decide what I want to do in life and what I want in a career,” he says. “My classes have prepared me to handle whatever comes at me. I’m still learning, but what I’ve learned here is invaluable, and everything I’ve done has helped me to jump-start my career.”
Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.