International student learns first-hand

Brad Bigando and Guillaume Buissez clear debris from the grounds of the Millennium Tennis and Fitness Club.

Amye Buckley

Brad Bigando and Guillaume Buissez clear debris from the grounds of the Millennium Tennis and Fitness Club.

One Missouri Southern student is learning American business and management styles in a bi-lateral exchange.

Guillaume Buissez, junior sports management major from Université d’Orléans, has spent the last two semesters at Missouri Southern studying business.

The French exchange student describes his major from his home university as preparation for several types of jobs in the sports industry. Job descriptions include event organizer, business management and promoter or public relations with a sports twist.

“I know that, for example, in France one girl in my university worked in the insurance company,” Buissez said. “Because the insurance company pays for a ship competition, like America’s Cup.”

Lining up sponsorships and endorsements is only one segment of the job.

“I want to specialize with competition,” Buissez said.

Buissez hopes to work with large-scale competitions, like the Rugby World Cup, to be held in France in September 2007.

Buissez follows rugby like most American’s follow the National Football League. He says France has a good chance to win this year. He also favors rowing, having been involved in the sport for 10 years.

“It was very important for me because, I met all my friends there, now we are still together, you know, very close.”

Currently Buissez is interning at the Millennium Tennis and Fitness Club. He says the internship is more about a wide range of experience than a specific lesson.

“They give me tasks,” Buissez said. “I don’t think I learn so much specific stuff, just to manage a center day after day.”

His job varies, during the UTSA Freeman Men’s $50,000 Challenge at Millennium in February, Buissez was in charge of the tennis court for each game, meeting the needs of the players and judges. He gets to see all sides of the business.

Brad Bigando, general manager for Millennium oversees Buissez’s internship.

“I’ve always been a kinda hands on manager,” Bigando said as the two cleaned up some fallen limbs. “You’ve got to learn to do everything if you’re gonna have your own club.”

Bigando has been in fitness business since he graduated from Southern in 1979.

“You’re looking at all the operations of a sports facility,” said Chris Moos, instructor of international business, who arranged the internship. He lists marketing, special event planning, merchandising, pricing and everyday maintenance as part of Buissez’s education.

“It’s just as much of a business discipline as managing Leggett & Platt, you have all those issues,” Moos said.

But for Buissez, one of the biggest lessons he has learned is the language.

“This was the most important stuff that I did here, was to improve my English,” he said.

He hopes his experience here will give him an edge looking for jobs with international events.

“So I’m here and it’s what I wanted and I like it,” Buissez said. He returns to France in May.