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Summer in the City: My Internship at The Madison Square Garden Company – Part 1

By Alyssa Holcomb

As the poet Lin-Manuel Miranda once wrote, “There’s nothing like summer in the city…”

The day after spring quarter finals, I packed up and moved out of my apartment. The next day, I was on a one-way trip to New York City. Needless to say, it’s been non-stop since then. But based on my experience so far, I’ll keep it that way.

This summer, I am working as a Student Associate at The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) – and it’s been a consistent “pinch me” moment these first few weeks. Since I was seven years old, I’ve dreamed of seeing a show at the World’s Most Famous Arena (thanks, NSYNC’s HBO special). Now, I get to WORK there.

I work in the Marketing Productions department, which is responsible for all of MSG’s owned properties. This includes the Radio City Rockettes and a new venture, Sphere, that is in the works for several major global hubs. I have had the opportunity to work with both of these properties, particularly with Sphere.

Sphere has been constantly evolving in the short time I’ve been here. It’s been both challenging and invigorating to catch up to speed with the team as new facts and figures come in ready for further strategizing.

This week, I participated in a Consumer Journey half-day workshop where I brainstormed ideas alongside executive leaders for end-to-end consumer experiences – meaning from the moment they hear about Sphere to the minute they leave post-show. That experience was particularly interesting to me, as I could tap into both my business-minded and consumer-focused brains simultaneously to problem-solve in real time. I also enjoyed sitting back and listening to company veterans who specialize in different fields (i.e. Live Entertainment, Merchandising, Food and Beverage) speak to how their focuses could help impact the experience, and vice versa. I felt part of the team during this exercise. I felt welcomed, valued and encouraged to try things out, revise when needed and practice my pitching skills all at once.

I’ve also had the opportunity to work with the Rockettes team as they prepare for their new season. I’ve written copy for the Rockettes website and worked with the Digital Team on a special Drag Brunch performance with The Trevor Project during World Pride Week.

In between balancing new challenges and refining my skills, I’ve taken company-sponsored tours of both Radio City Music Hall (home of the Rockettes) and The Garden itself. Both were definitely those “pinch me” moments I mentioned earlier. Standing on the stage at Radio City was an out-of-this-realm experience for this Tony Awards-loving lady. As for The Garden? Let’s just say I was rendered speechless when I got to walk on the floor of the arena itself and stare up at the tens of thousands of seats, waiting for the next performance. As someone who wants to work with live entertainment for a living, it’s important to me to continue to learn more about the overall experience from the ground up – both literally and figuratively.

I’m very fortunate to be working with this organization this summer. I credit Northwestern and MSLCE for helping me open the door to that relationship, and the hard work I’ve put in over the past year has truly helped me learn how to balance priorities and tasks better.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about the last half of my internship experience later this summer! Stay tuned!