When Jonathan Di Filippo ’21 began working for Madison Square Garden, which his former professor calls the ‘Mecca of Sports Entertainment,’ earlier this fall, his new supervisor was a familiar face: fellow sport management alum Heather Brereton ’16.
November 11, 2021
For Jonathan Di Filippo ’21, working at Madison Square Garden (MSG), had been a dream since he began his first year at the University of New Haven. It is a dream he realized just a few months after graduating.
Di Filippo, who earned a degree in sport management and has always been interested in sports, began his job as a staff services coordinator for MSG earlier this fall. He is responsible for time reporting, attendance, and scheduling for front and back of house staff members, and he is excited to be starting his career in the world of sports and entertainment.
“It means everything to me to have this job at MSG,” he said. “After my hard work in the sport management program at the University and the internships I completed throughout school, my hard work is paying off already only months after graduating in May. My time as a student prepared me for my new role because the sport management program covers a variety of topics that enable students to learn about different sides of the industry as well as develop a plethora of different skills.”
Di Filippo is grateful for the support of his professors, including Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D., chair of the University’s sport management department, who introduced him to Heather Brereton ’16 at the end of his junior year. Brereton, a staff services supervisor for MSG, is now Di Filippo’s colleague and supervisor. Their department handles scheduling and payroll for all MSG venues, and they ensure that all operations managers have the staff they need to successfully execute every event at their venues.
“It’s exciting to be working with a fellow Charger,” said Brereton. “It’s great to see the connections build and, eventually, lead to opportunities and growth. Mentorship is so important. When I was an undergraduate, it was challenging to find a mentor in the industry who I could regularly check in with to see what was going on in the sports and entertainment world, so if I can be that person for someone, I am more than happy to do so.”
‘It shows the quality of the sport management program at the University’
Brereton began her own career at MSG as a part-time employee in the guest services department after she earned her sport management degree from the University. She earned a full-time position the following year, and she has since been promoted multiple times, leading to her current role.
“The fast-paced environment is something I thrive on,” she said. “Every day is completely different, thanks to our event calendar, which makes every day interesting! My professors at the University did an amazing job preparing us for what the real work experience would look like.”
Di Filippo says his experiences in and out of the classroom prepared him for his role at MSG. A former team manager for the Chargers men’s basketball team, he also completed several internships, including one with the Connecticut Sports Management Group.
“I would encourage students in the sport management program at the University to pursue their dream job within the industry, and to continually work hard and to strive for more,” he said. “It means a great deal to me to see other alumni succeeding because it shows the quality of the sport management program at the University and that the skills we are taught are transferrable to positions throughout the industry.”