Matthew Lerman (’15) knew he wanted two things when he was looking to advance his career: A master’s degree and graduate assistantship that would help him pursue a career in sports.
The Southern California native found both at Missouri State University’s Master of Professional Studies (MPS) program, sports management focus area and a graduate assistant job in the university’s office of athletics communications.
Now the director of athletics communications for Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Lerman is using what he learned at Missouri State in his career.
Starting his Missouri Statement
Almost immediately, Lerman knew he made the right choice by becoming a Bear.
He loved the campus. “The Foster Recreation Center is beautiful with that giant pool you can see from the walkway,” he said. In his MPS classes and assistantship, he found the valuable post-graduate education he was looking for.
What stood out the most? Flexibility and a chance to customize the experience he desired. The MPS is a 33-credit hour program that includes 21 hours of core classes plus 12 hours of classes from a focus area.
“I think the biggest strength of a lot of the classes was that they had applicable case study examples that put your mind into real world,” Lerman said. “It wasn’t just reading the text of something that you never could apply to your life or your job. Somebody else in this profession had gone through it.”
A schedule of his own design
Lerman got to apply what he learned in his classes immediately to his athletics communications role. Over the course of two years, he led communications efforts for several Missouri State teams: Cross country, track and field, men’s and women’s golf and men’s soccer programs.
He made a name for himself by helping to create a fresh, engaging, audience-centered approach on the Soccer Bears Twitter account. He also gained real-world experience in media relations, live stats entry, broadcast and photography.
Online classes allowed Lerman to effectively manage his busy work life that included internships with local professional teams.
“I crafted my schedule in a way that I wanted,” he said. “I took my textbooks on road trips with the team. Plus, I really enjoyed the online classes because the professors were still accessible.”
‘Felt like I belonged’
After he graduated in 2015, Lerman started his career in athletics communications at Humboldt State University. He then moved on to become the assistant director at Loyola Marymount and earned a promotion to the top job in November 2018.
Lerman largely credits his experience at Missouri State for being able to thrive as the leader of a staff that manages communications for 22 NCAA Division I teams.
“Of all the universities in the country, I’m happy that I ended up at MSU,” he said. “I felt comfortable and like I belonged.”