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Brentwood grad heads to Spain as part of Point Park program

| Monday, March 20, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Point Park University student and Brentwood High School alum Jessica Martin spent her spring beak in February 2017 researching the sports culture of Madrid, Spain.
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Point Park University student and Brentwood High School alum Jessica Martin spent her spring beak in February 2017 researching the sports culture of Madrid, Spain.

Point Park University student and Brentwood High School alum Jessica Martin spent her spring beak researching the sports culture of Madrid.

Martin, who is pursuing a bachelor of science degree in sports, arts and entertainment management, opted to take the trip through Point Park's School of Business.

“Deciding to take the trip was an easy choice. It was a wonderful experience — to try new things and meet new people,” Martin said of the trip she took last month. “Not only did I learn to travel internationally, I was able to apply what I've been learning in the classroom and compare it to an entirely new culture.”

Martin discovered the comparison between what she learned in the classroom, experiences here, and experiences in Madrid were not extremely different at all.

On the trip, Martin's general research topic was a comparison and contrast between American football and soccer. This involved the in-game experience as well as both business background and organization and the impact the event had on the city and culture.

While there, Martin had attended the Real Madrid CF versus Las Palmas game at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.

“The atmosphere during a European futball match is completely different than attending, let's say, a Steelers game,” Martin said.

Nonalcoholic beer, a small screen only displaying the score, remaining time and player substitutions (without replay), and the only noise coming from the fan sections — these were the characteristics that leapt out to Martin while sitting within the stadium large enough to host 80,000 spectators.

“It never takes part in cheesy engagement tactics with the crowd for ‘noise,' ‘hand claps,' and so on,” Martin said. “Everything was about the game. You were practically forced to watch. I liked that.”

The course was developed by visiting Assistant Professor Patrick Mulvihill as the first of many ways of further establishing the mark the university leaves abroad.

“I developed the course and the trip as a way that any major could refine their research skills by examining a topic that was central to their own major and future career path,” Mulvihill said.

Apart from attending a futball match and trying authentic Spanish food, Martin and her classmates visited several businesses, including Las Rozas Village Outlets of Value Retail, Madrid Destino Tourism Office, 2btube and Universidad Nebrija.

The speaker of Madrid Destino, general manager Miguel Sanz, provided lessons on attracting returning customers to the city, such as loyalty programs and new marketing campaigns — the first city to create one. The program utilizes a points program, software, and notices for travel including promotions, discounts, and other offers.

“Relating this to both Marketing and Economics classes I've taken, our meeting with Miguel Sanz was a great way to apply concepts previously discussed in class,” Martin said. “An equilibrium in the marketplace must be found, in which positive notions of Madrid the city is maximized all the while negative connotations and perceptions are minimized.”

This lesson is likely something that Martin will apply to her own experiences as she pursues her degree and moves beyond school to the day-to-day work field.

Rebecca L. Ferraro is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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