2017 2017: Brandon Berkley '18: Corsairs Hockey & Business Management

Student playing hockey
Brandon Berkley playing for the UMassD men's ice hockey team
2017 2017: Brandon Berkley '18: Corsairs Hockey & Business Management
Brandon Berkley '18: Corsairs Hockey & Business Management

Through athletics and internships, Brandon has developed the discipline that will translate into a successful business career.

My UMassD story begins with hockey in my hometown of Scottsdale, AZ. I started playing when I was 4 and fell in love with the sport. I played throughout my youth—and was better than most in Arizona. When it was time to apply to colleges, I was ready to do what everyone else at my high school was doing: apply to either the University of Arizona or Arizona State. 

But my parents suggested that I defer college for a few years and pursue hockey in hopes of getting a scholarship. The way it works in hockey—unlike most sports—is that you don’t usually go straight to college right from high school to play. College teams prefer players who are more mature both physically and mentally.  

Playing in the North American Hockey League 

I was fortunate to be selected by the Ice Rays of Corpus Christi, TX. The next two years helped me mature and gain independence. I had a decent first year—5 goals, 9 assists, and 149 penalty minutes. The next season, I unfortunately had a severe hip injury that took me out of the lineup for the whole season.  

This was the lowest point I have been in my life thus far. I’m 20 years old with no college commitment. I had taken 2 years off from college to pursue a dream that now looked like it would not happen. 

With the help of our radio broadcaster, I made a hockey highlight tape to send out to schools I was interested in. After hearing back from a few schools, I decided on UMassD.

Students posing with the chancellor
Brandon (left) with Chancellor Robert E. Johnson and Deborah Dele Oni (right). Brandon and Deborah delivered student speeches at a recent Admissions Open House event.

UMassD hockey & a top-ranked business education 

I picked UMassD for three reasons.  

The hockey coach and team had a winning tradition that I could be a huge part of. The newly-built Charlton College of Business was ranked in the top 150 for top business schools in the U.S. And I liked the student body: the players I met, and through them, other great people I had the pleasure to meet. 

School-sport balance: the 60/40 rule 

Once I was at UMassD, I enjoyed everything college had to offer—school, freedom, social life, all of it. One of the biggest things for me personally was to have a good balance between school and hockey. I live by the 60/40 rule: 60 percent focused on school and 40 percent focused on hockey.  

When I started to find my groove and get used to the day-to-day life of being a student athlete, I had nothing but a blast. I’ve had an amazing college experience. I couldn’t be any luckier to have come here.

standing on library stairs

Internships to gain sales & marketing experience 

As an intern at Yelp, I cold-called over 80 businesses a day to discuss the benefits of online advertising. I would pitch the idea of revolutionizing their company through Yelp's product.   

Through this experience, I learned how to deal with rejection. I learned to remain diligent in pursuing success even after being repeatedly turned down, a lesson I can carry over into any future job.  

At the pharmaceutical firm Medicx, I developed and analyzed data to assist the sales team in catering products to their clients. The internship offered me an inside look at the pharmaceutical industry and how many factors are involved in maintaining relationships with clients.  

Next steps: MBA & business career 

Hockey has shaped my work ethic and challenged me to be disciplined in all aspects of my life. I’m now in my fourth year at the university, and pursuing my degree in business management.  

My plans after graduating are still undetermined. I’m applying to jobs in numerous fields ranging from medical device sales to the payroll and benefits solutions sales industry.   

I’m very excited to see where my future leads, but one thing is for sure: I could not be in the position I am in today without coming to UMass Dartmouth.  

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