“I came to the Robins School of Business hoping to become a fourth generation accountant,” said Hugh Nicholson, ’09. Nicholson’s journey took a significant pivot towards marketing in the middle of his academic career, and he worked tirelessly to get to his current position. Today, he is business development manager for The Washington Redskins.

“After my initial accounting courses I realized accounting was not the most suitable career path for me to follow. I had a candid conversation with Professor Hoyle, and he advised I seriously consider what I wanted to pursue for my future. I came across Professor Marquardt’s sports marketing class and decided to take a leap. It was then I saw the thriving business behind sports, and I began to see a future for myself in that industry.”

Marquardt explained, “Hugh and his classmates completed assessments for my class that encouraged a great deal of self reflection. Hugh was intrigued by the sports industry, but also hesitant because of the challenges associated with breaking into the industry. As he began to see the sports marketing industry as a viable career path, I encouraged him to think about the steps he needed to take to create value for prospective employers. He deeply considered internships and jobs that would develop the necessary skills, and he had the confidence and fortitude to ask for the necessary introductions and ultimately the jobs. His drive and courage are what set Hugh apart and why he is so good at what he does.”

Nicholson shared, “Professor Marquardt gave me sage advice; he said that in order to show my determination, I shouldn’t be afraid to roll up my sleeves, to be the first one in and the last one out at the end of the day. I really took that to heart.”

Following his graduation Nicholson began his career with The Washington Nationals’ sales and marketing group as an intern during spring training in Viera, Florida. “I took this chance to prove myself to the organization. On top of my duties I did everything from putting up signage to cleaning the stadium. Anything I could do to show my dedication, I would do. Soon after, I secured a job with The Florida Panthers in the National Hockey League (NHL) in their partnership development group. After a year, I made the move to my current position as business development manager for The Washington Redskins.”

Nicholson described a typical day at work. “I generate revenue for the organization in the form of sponsorships and advertising. Most of my day is spent engaging with potential clients figuring out how to best help them achieve their goals and leverage our brand. I am fortunate to be working for one of the world’s leading sports organizations, where we are charged with thinking outside the box and continuing to position ourselves as leaders within the industry.” 

He remembered the first day he walked into work. “The very first thing I saw was the case of Super Bowl trophies. Right then and there I knew I had been given the opportunity to be a part of an organization that is focused on success, and I knew this is where I wanted to be. I walk by the trophies each day when I arrive and depart the office, and it’s a fantastic reminder of what is attainable.”

Nicholson reflected on his career thus far. “I feel very fortunate to have found a career path that continues to motivate and excite me. Working in the National Football League (NFL) was a goal of mine from day one, but being fortunate enough to work for an organization that I’m passionate about further motivates me to push the envelope every day. It’s truly been a blessing to do what I love.”