Nick Russo ’20 Scores Big with an NFL Internship
November 7, 2018—Going from Marist to the Miami Dolphins, Nick Russo ‘20 scored a touchdown with his summer internship.
During the spring of his sophomore year, Russo, a dual major in communications and business with concentrations in sports communication and marketing, began his online search for a summer internship. He found, in his words, “the internship opportunity of a lifetime” with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. “My Dad is a Dolphins super-fan, so I knew I had to try for it.”
After applying to the program, he was contacted to interview for the position in the marketing department. During the interview, Russo had an exciting surprise: the Miami Dolphins organization was very interested in both of his hugely successful Instagram accounts (despite their NBA focus, he joked) and how he used digital marketing in his daily life. Because of this experience, he was hired.
Russo’s Instagram accounts The NBA Never Stops and The Swish Factor are both NBA-focused. He started The NBA Never Stops in June 2017. Just a few months into running the account, he started to see a large influx of followers; today the account has 119,000 followers. The NBA Never Stops features a wide range of NBA commentary, memes, photos, and posts, which have gained attention not only with NBA fans, but also from some NBA players themselves. “One of my biggest achievements on the account was getting NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal to repost something to his own account,” said Russo. In addition to O’Neal, players like Carmelo Anthony and Isaiah Thomas have interacted as well. In just over a year, the account had an astounding 100,000 followers.
Because of that success, Russo decided to expand. A few months after the success of The NBA Never Stops began, he acquired The Swish Factor from its original creator. “It’s meant to be a more fun and laid-back page,” said Russo. Moving ahead, he also hopes to add more video content. The follower count of the account when Russo acquired it was 137,000, and now The Swish Factor ’s popularity has grown to 144,000.
L-R: Dolphins staff members Patrick Arthur (Director of Marketing), Karli Kadlecek (Project Management Coordinator), Nicholas Maier (Marketing Intern), Nick Russo ‘20 (Marketing Intern), Cassandra Congemi (Project Management Coordinator), and Alex Parker (Senior Manager of Digital Marketing)
All of this experience was useful to Russo as he hopped on a plane to Miami immediately after the end of the spring semester. The structure of the Dolphins internship had him doing rotations in different areas of communication, marketing, and business. An especially memorable moment for him was when interns were split into groups and told to create a revenue-generating plan for the Hard Rock Stadium. The kicker? The plan had to be presented in front of a table of Hard Rock Stadium executives. “I worked on and presented a three-year, multistage plan based on bringing e-sports—an untapped demographic—to the stadium. It was very nerve-wracking for me and the other interns to present our ideas directly to the stadium executives. But it was a great experience.”
During his summer in Miami, Russo worked on a wide variety of tasks, including replacing stadium signage, ticket sales for major events, including the Hispanic Heritage Day game, and business-to-business events.
Russo received a great deal of guidance and support from the Dolphins staff and really enjoyed “lunch and learn” sessions with senior executives, which gave him a chance to expand his learning experience beyond the classroom.
Russo has a few pointers for students looking for internships. “Start early! Deadlines come up quickly and you never can go wrong getting everything in early, it also helps to send a letter to the human resources director to show your interest in the organization” he said. “And always showcase your niche. For me, that was my NBA Instagram accounts. Highlight anything that makes you unique over other candidates. Having a side project that gives you a chance to have an outlet for your passions sets you apart from the rest.”