Former Cougar scores big in the National Football League

By Costa Maragos Posted: January 4, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Michelle Clark is a product manager at the National Football League. Her job takes her to some of the league’s major events including the annual players’ draft.
Michelle Clark is a product manager at the National Football League. Her job takes her to some of the league’s major events including the annual players’ draft. Photo courtesy of Michelle Clark

Michelle Clark is making it big in North America’s most lucrative sports league.

Clark is a product manager at the National Football League. Her career has skyrocketed since she graduated from the U of R with a master in business administration. Clark also excelled as a member of the Cougar’s women’s basketball team, leading her teammates to a national final in 2013. Clark, who is originally from Westlake Village, California, credits her early career success to the time she spent at the University of Regina. She works in the NFL's Media office in Culver City, California.

We spoke with Clark about her key role in the NFL and her positive U of R experience.

You are a product manager at the NFL. What's involved with that job?

Michelle clark
Here is a perk of the job. Michelle Clark at the Super Bowl with her brother Alex Clark.

At a high level, I define the overall vision and strategy of the NFL application on connected devices (Apple TV, Roku, PS4, etc.) and determine how to execute the vision through product roadmaps and product iterations.

I work closely with our designers and engineers to develop new product experiences that align with our business goals and core KPIs (key performance indicators). Once new features are solidified, I put together detailed business and functional requirements to define how the feature should behave in the application.

In parallel, I work with our business intelligence team to track the success of new and existing product features which allows us to quickly address any issues and understand user behavior. I’ve always loved technology and sports, so working for a league like the NFL in the tech industry is really fun.

What do you love about your job?

I love what I do because it pushes me to think outside the box and determine new ways to solve problems. My favourite thing about working in the tech industry is that everything is always changing - there’s always a new device launched or new technology available to leverage in your app, so you’re never stuck doing the same thing all the time.

What are peoples' reactions when you say you work for the NFL?

People typically just ask me to take them to the Super Bowl (ha ha). Most
people find it cool and interesting. It's a really fun job.

Michelle Clark Basketball
Michelle Clark excelled as a member of the U of R Cougars. In 2013 she was named Canada West first-team all-star and CIS second team all-Canadian. Photo courtesy of Rob Weitzel Graphic Productions

What was your experience like playing for the Cougars?

I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not gone to the U of R to get my
masters and play basketball. Playing with the Cougars was awesome. I
have some of the best memories from my two years at the U of R. My teammates have become lifelong friends and I use almost all of my vacation days on trips to Regina to visit them.

What’s your favourite basketball memory?

My favourite basketball memory at the U of R was hosting nationals. We ended up losing in the championship but the turnout at the gym and support from the community was incredible – I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

You earned a master of business administration at the U of R. How has your educational experience at the U of R helped you?

I always loved the challenge of juggling basketball and schoolwork. When you don’t have a lot of free time, you learn a lot about time management, which has definitely been transferrable to my job. The things I learned in courses at the U of R really helped prepare me to enter the workforce. I had projects ranging from basic data analysis to full business concept proposals which gave me tools to manage real-life experiences and challenged me to think in ways I otherwise wouldn’t have.

Overall, how would you describe your experience at the U of R?

Amazing. I couldn’t have imagined my experience going any better than it did. I got to play basketball with some of my best friends while also furthering my education in an exceptional business program. The U of R is a second home to me because of my teammates and the people in the community who made me feel at home.

What advice do you have for current students in business?

Apply yourself to the assignments and projects to get the most out of your courses. What helped me most is that I asked a lot of questions and would always follow up with professors after class if I was confused on any topics.

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