THF Alumna Jordan Budget Scores Diverse Experiences at NBA

Jordan Budget was a 2014 T. Howard Foundation intern at Showtime Networks. She is currently part of the rotational NBA Associate Program in New York. Jordan received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Global Studies in 2015 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Jordan Budget (right) attends the 2016 THF MEN event hosted by at NBA headquarters. Also pictured: Preston Chin (THF  ’12, ’13), Partnership Solutions, NBA, and LaShika Howard, THF Senior Manager, Career & Alumni Services

NBA Associates Experience Four Departments
As an NBA Associate, I rotate through four different departments with four different responsibilities. My third rotation was in the partnerships department, and my responsibilities included identifying new partners with which the NBA could to do deals, what would be included in the contracts and establishing why the new relationships are important.

THF Internship at Showtime Created Networking Opportunities
I interned at Showtime Networks, and the best part was connecting with other THF interns and alumni to learn their experiences. I was also excited to have been assigned a mentor through THF’s Internship Program.

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Jordan participates in a networking exercise as a THF intern at the 2014 Summer Intern Orientation.

THF taught me about the importance of networking and getting to know people in the media and entertainment industry. The networking skills I learned from THF Summer Intern Orientation have benefited me in the long run, and has helped open doors for me at the NBA.

Be Willing to Learn in New Positions
The most important thing for someone new to the industry is to be honest. At the entry level, it’s important to enter a company with a willingness to learn. Be upfront with yourself and with other people about your experience (what you know and what you don’t know); managers will appreciate that and provide opportunities for you to learn and grow.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is telling people that I work for the NBA. I find that my family is proud of me, not just for the professional position I’m in, but the fact that I’m a woman in a male-dominated company. I’m proud that I can sit at the table and be respected.

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Jordan (second from right) connects with other THF alumni and media industry decision makers at THF’s 2015 Diversity Awards Dinner.

Career Goals Often Change
When speaking with younger people, I often find that they have a dream job in mind. In my internship at Showtime, and now working at the NBA, I find that no one came out of college with a complete, clear career path and went straight there. Many of them worked their way around to gain different experiences before setting long-term goals.

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Alumni Spotlight: Preston Chin Makes Rounds at NBA

Headshot-3As the NBA Finals come to a close, Preston Chin (THF ’12, ’13) is living out his childhood dream of working for the league and in the media industry.

While growing up in Atlanta, Preston was always drawn to media, especially sports. “I have always been interested in sports media, particularly ESPN. I watched NBA TV all the time and I loved to broadcast games for fun.” However, he wasn’t sure what career path he would pursue in the industry.

Preston’s lifelong interest in media influenced his decision to major in communications and minor in economics at Stanford University. At Stanford, he went from pretending to broadcast games to actually being a play-by-play announcer for women’s basketball, as well as the men’s and women’s volleyball games for four years. As a sophomore, Preston interned at an English language newspaper while studying abroad in Chile. During his junior year, he interned at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, DC, focusing on broadband distribution policy.

Being Proactive Led to NBA Projects and Internship
Preston credits the varied experience he gained across the media landscape, including his two T. Howard Foundation internships, with preparing him for his current position at the NBA. In fact, networking during his 2012 THF internship in the sales department at Turner Broadcasting is how he connected with the league: “That internship got me to where I am today with the NBA.”

The NBA had a group of employees based at Turner, located a floor below where Preston was interning. One day he decided to go downstairs and introduce himself. He made a great impression on members of the marketing team and began to work on projects for the NBA while still interning at Turner. These “side projects” helped him confirm his interest in sports media. In 2013, he went on to complete a second internship through the Foundation in ESPN’s digital marketing division.

“I loved it… merging my interest in business, marketing and sports together. It really helped me realize my interest in the intersection between sports and business.”

2014 NBA Associate Class - NBA Cares Day of Service

2014 NBA Associate Class

Contacts Recommend NBA Associate Program
As a result of establishing contacts at the NBA, Preston learned about the NBA Associate Program. He applied during his final quarter at Stanford and was one of eight applicants accepted. A few months after graduating in 2014, he began working for the organization he’s loved since childhood.

NBA Associates spend one year working for the league, rotating through the business’ different departments every three months. By actively being a sports broadcaster, having an international reporting internship and working on the business side of the media industry, Preston says this all helps him to make the transitions required in the NBA Associate Program.

Leadership Skill-Building Across the World

At the NBA Global Games press conference table in Beijing.

At the NBA Global Games press conference table in Beijing.

In October 2014, Preston traveled to Shanghai and Beijing, China for NBA Global Games between the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings. The league sponsors tours for family members and friends of basketball team members. Preston was responsible for accompanying guests of the Brooklyn Nets organization. “We explored many of the famous sites in China and ensured that no one was separated from the group. We also led these guests to their VIP seats and to exclusive team-related events held in hotels and in arenas.”

Preston says the two-week assignment was an excellent opportunity to network with team owners and players’ agents. It also provided him with the unique vantage point of seeing how a large-scale event is executed from the NBA’s perspective.

Find Your Niche with an Open Mind
Having a broad resume within the media industry and taking initiative led Preston to the company of his dreams. His advice to students interested in entering the media industry is to keep an open mind and have a “big picture perspective” when working on a project, even if it is something to which you may not have naturally gravitated. Taking a leadership role on such projects can also generate greater opportunities.