Olympic-sized career in sports merchandising
Keavy O’Malley-Keyes’s career is international in nature. As Merchandising Manager at NBC Sports in New York, she specializes in Olympic gear, which means she travels for work. A lot.
"My Bachelor of Commerce degree changed my life by opening so many doors. With the skill set it gave me, I've landed great roles in international sports and feel confident I could have pursued any industry."
In many ways, that’s a natural extension of her education - for almost as long as she can remember, Keavy has been an international student. She was born in Holland, lived in six different countries, and attended high school in both Belgium and Japan.
When she set her sights on business school, she was looking for a university with a global outlook - so she would fit in - and high rankings, so she could launch a career anywhere in the world.
“My initial plan was to go to the UK,” she says. “But then I learned about the quality of UBC Sauder’s Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) program and heard how many international students attend UBC Sauder.”
A broad knowledge in business
When she arrived in Vancouver, Keavy found the city itself and the UBC Sauder campus welcoming. She gives much of the credit for her easy transition to her international student coordinator.
“He was key to helping me get set up initially,” she says. “And he helped me immeasurably along the way.”
On campus, Keavy pursued a well-rounded university experience; she pledged a sorority, played dodge ball on recreational sports teams and took full advantage of everything the UBC Sauder BCom offered. Off campus, she spent her winter weekends skiing at the world-renowned resort Whistler Blackcomb.
Even with a full schedule of extracurricular activities, Keavy completed her BCom with honours, with a specialization in Human Resources.
“I’m passionate about working with people, which is why I was initially drawn to Human Resources,” she says.
"My UBC Sauder professors piqued my interests in areas I didn’t even know I’d find fascinating – like finance and statistics. They gave me a broad knowledge base in business and specific tools like financial forecasting, which I now use practically every day."
Landing a role at NBC Sports
After graduation, Keavy landed an internship in the marketing department of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. There, she excelled and was offered a position with the National Hockey League in New York, which she held for three years.
“I truly believe I could have taken my BCom degree and gone into anything. It prepared me that well for the business world.”
Now, she’s Merchandising Manager at NBC Sports in New York, where she specializes in Olympic gear.
“I love the travel component of my job,” she says. “I spent two months in Rio when the Olympics were held there and I’m already looking forward to the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.”
When she looks back on it, Keavy never predicted her career would take her where it has.
“I was a Human Resources major,” she says. “And that just goes to show that the UBC Sauder BCom is such a well-rounded program, I was able to end up here in consumer products.
“With the skill set the BCom gave me, I feel confident I could have pursued any industry.”
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