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CPASS degree delivers real world experience and lifelong relationships

Throughout his career, Jonathan Gibson, WVU Sports Management Master’s degree, has served in marketing leadership roles across a variety of industries in and out of sports. Gibson says that most of the companies are globally recognized for their brand health, innovation, reputation and performance.

Gibson has always had a zeal for marketing and brand building. “Seeing it through this lens was a passion of mine throughout my college and graduate school experiences. Coming to WVU was a great decision as it allowed me to gain real work knowledge while I was in school and build relationships that I have kept throughout my career,” he said.

Gibson, from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has worked for or supported brands such as Molson Coors, Kraft, Proctor and Gamble, Coca-Cola, Verizon and many others.

“Each of the transitions or new roles in my career were a result of relationships that were established within my job,” Gibson said. “This includes my current role as executive vice president with Penske Corporation, which allows me to lead marketing, branding, digital and business development for a global leader in sports, automotive and transportation.”

Deciding on WVU CPASS was a simple choice for Gibson. “The college has a national reputation, a personalized approach and features hands on learning,” he said. “I ran the Betty Puskar LPGA Futures Tour event while in grad school. The leaders that I met in Morgantown and the surrounding communities were so important to my growth as I learned about marketing, event management, sales and most importantly, attention to detail and execution. This was a great experience for me, and it really helped me get started in my career.”

Gibson reflects on his time as a WVU student. “Morgantown is a wonderful college town and it has a lot to offer due to the region. Some of my best experiences were with the friends from our program. Several of my closest friends today are the ones I met while in graduate school,” Gibson said.

Although the sports industry job market is well known as being competitive, Gibson says the skill sets needed to succeed are like those in other industries. “You need to have a work ethic that is relentless and be willing to spend evenings, weekends or whatever it takes to exceed expectations of your peers, customers or clients,” he said. “Secondly, you must be curious, ask questions and not be satisfied with the status quo. I love the quote ‘good enough isn’t good enough’ – this is so true. You should always exceed expectations.”

Lastly, Gibson circles back to the importance of relationships that he says facilitate trust, character and integrity. “While sport is a big industry, it is small once you are in it and grow throughout the years. Relationships are important to your success,” he added.

Penske Corporation is a closely held, diversified, on-highway, transportation services company whose subsidiaries operate in a variety of industry segments, including retail automotive, truck leasing, transportation logistics and professional motorsports. Penske Corporation manages businesses with consolidated revenues of more than $32 billion, operating in more than 3,200 locations and employing more than 56,000 people worldwide.

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