Student hones creativity, makes connections during internship with NFL

This is the 14th in a series of articles about summer internships for students in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For those who love the NFL, a Sunday during football season is always one of the best days of the week. For Penn State senior Alex Sheinman, fall Sundays mean his New York Giants are playing, and it also traditionally meant one-on-one games in the yard against his twin brother, Jake, with his father, Drew, as the all-time quarterback.

The routine of playing football with his family during halftime of Giants games started in middle school, and lasted through his senior year of high school. While Sheinman admits his brother might have gotten the best of him at times, those games in the backyard solidified his love for the sport.

“If the Giants won on Sunday, I would go into school on Monday all pumped up and I’d just feel good about the day. Football has always been emotional in a good way,” said Sheinman.

His passion for football has continued, and this summer, he is working as a digital media marketing intern at the NFL in New York City. There, Sheinman works with NFL Fantasy and NFL Mobile, looking to acquire more users for those platforms, which is done through different advertising and marketing efforts across the NFL’s social media platforms and via paid social advertising. In addition, the NFL runs ads on its site and on NFL Network.

“My job is to generate the creative that we’re going to launch on those sites and optimize which creative is performing best and analyzing the different data, whether it be impressions, click-throughs or conversions that these banners are having for signups,” said Sheinman.

So far, Sheinman said he has learned a lot about digital media and optimization, like what goes into planning an advertisement as well as how to drive users and engagement.

For Sheinman, the internship was a culmination of things he had done in the past. Last summer he was an intern with the strategic planning sponsorship group at Major League Baseball and really got interested in working for a league. Then, on Penn State’s campus, Sheinman worked as a sales representative for DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket.

Sheinman is all about connections. Through his DirecTV work, he built relationships with his managers, who had relationships with people at the NFL.

“That’s the only way I really think I got into this building, by making relationships and staying connected,” said Sheinman. “In the internships I’ve had, I’ve stayed connected with everyone I’ve worked for. I think it’s important, especially in college, to develop relationships and to maintain them is even more important. You never know who’s going to be able help you and open doors for you.”

Now that he’s working with the NFL, he is trying to build relationships there, too. One of his biggest personal goals so far has been developing relationships with as many people as possible in the building. There are a handful of Penn State alumni who work at the NFL office. Sheinman has made it a point to try to get coffee or lunch with all of them.

“You can talk about what they did at Penn State and how they transitioned from college into the real world,” said Sheinman. “I’ve noticed that if you go to Penn State, people are always willing to help. They want to see you succeed.”

Sheinman has used his time at Penn State to help set him up for success. In December of 2016 he reached out to John Powell, a marketing instructor in the Smeal College of Business, about setting up a sports business conference on campus. Powell agreed to help, but told Sheinman it would have to be completely student-run.

Sheinman agreed and hit the ground running. He put together a team of students, and they have worked to organize the conference, which is set for spring 2018. This event will be the first of its kind at Penn State. 

“He is ambitious, he has great follow-through, he’s highly motivated, and he takes a lot of initiative,” said Powell. “Just the fact that he stepped up and is willing to do this and it was his idea shows tremendous initiative on his part.”

With a plethora of different experiences in the industry, Sheinman has laid the groundwork for a career in sports. Whether it is working for the NFL, a sports agency, or some other sports-related endeavor, this internship has definitely solidified his career goals.

“I think just being in this building every day has made me realize that this is where I’d like to be, or in this space,” said Sheinman. “I think there is so much opportunity interning somewhere like the NFL.”

Last Updated August 11, 2017