Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Former Madison Square Garden CEO speaks at USU seminar

I had the opportunity to listen to sports businessman Dave Checketts as part of the Partners in Business Conference at Utah State University, and I was very impressed.

As the founder of Sports Capital Partners and chairman of Real Salt Lake/Rio Tinto Stadium, Checketts told the story of how Rio Tinto Stadium came into existence without permission.

Dave Checketts
Though the venue had not yet been approved by the mayor, Checketts announced the building of a new stadium at the opening game of Real Salt Lake, a huge risk as Checketts didn’t know whether or not it would actually go through. But as it turns out, the risky move was the right one and the stadium proved to be a huge success.

As a student I can’t say that I’ve taken many risks in my life. In fact, I can’t think of any. But I think that the world of business, as well as life, to a certain degree, requires an amount of risk. Without it, a degree of success lies untapped, awaiting some courageous person to discover the rewards it holds. Dave Checketts, in this instance, was that person, and each of us can follow him.

Checketts has had a very successful career in the sports world. In addition to his current position with Real Salt Lake, he has served as the president and of both the Utah Jazz and the New York Knicks, and he was the CEO of Madison Square Garden from 1994 to 2001. Though he has been very successful in sports, I was especially impressed by his advice to students. He didn’t tell them to get an early start by getting early experience, and he didn’t give them strategic advice for advancing in the business world. Instead, his advice was this: always keep your word and don’t assume things.

Now I’m not a business major and know nothing about strategic business tactics, so maybe my opinion is off. But I think that this is the most valuable advice one could give a student. It’s the formula for success in any facet of life. It is the way to become a successful person. By following this advice, students will not only succeed in business, but as a student studying whatever profession they choose.

- Allie Jeppson

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