Those graduating from the University of South Carolina with a master's degree in managing entertainment and sports are some of the best educated in their field worldwide, according to a new survey.
The SportsBusiness survey showed USC's Master of Science in Sport and Entertainment Management ranked fifth in the country and sixth in the world among similar programs. Last year, the same survey ranked the program 15th in the world.
Since USC started the program 14 years ago, USC has hired high-profile teachers such as Susan O'Malley, the first female president of an NBA franchise — the Washington Wizards — and former Carolina Panthers President Danny Morrison, said Matt Brown, chair of USC's Department of Sport and Entertainment Management.
"The day Danny retired from the Panthers, literally three of us sent him texts" asking him if he would teach at USC, Brown said.
The program also has benefited from graduates who have secured good jobs and raised the profile of the university, Brown said.
The program prepares students for careers such as running an athletics department, running tournaments or large sporting events or working as a tour manager, Brown said.
SportsBusiness assembled the rankings by surveying more than 1,300 alumni and course leaders from 75 universities. They asked survey participants questions such as whether they would recommend the course, how valuable the degree was in advancing their careers and their salaries.
The answers then were weighted: 40 percent of the score concerned student satisfaction, 25 percent was based on the percent of alumni who are employed in the sports or entertainment industry, 10 percent was based on how useful the course was in the workforce and the remaining 25 percent were for other factors.
The four American schools that topped USC's ranking were University of South Florida, George Washington University, University of Massachussetts and Ohio University. The one international school that topped USC was the Switzerland-based International Centre for Sport Studies.