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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Andy Mason and Nicholas Schmidt at AutoGrowl.

Steered to Success

Nicholas Schmidt ’08 merged his passions in marketing and sports and co-founded AutoGrowl, an automotive marketing agency in 2016. As he navigates the road to success, he’s keeping a lane open for current Flyers in UD’s sport management program.

Schmidt was asked by his former professor, Peter Titlebaum, to provide mock interviews for sport marketing students in 2022. The partnership accelerated from there, and Schmidt and his business partner began participating in other parts of the curriculum, including requests for proposals, pitches and other project work.

Last fall, one of the students in the sport marketing class, Andy Mason, stood out to Schmidt. Mason did well on the projects and stayed engaged with AutoGrowl, so they offered him an internship. Schmidt saw it as a natural progression for his company and an opportunity to provide Mason with hands-on experience working in a startup environment.

“I remember UD’s sport management program being pitch and relationship heavy. When we started, we had to do a lot of pitching and managing to sell, grow and build relationships with clients at AutoGrowl. To have the full circle experience with current students and be in a position to provide an internship and experience for somebody is very humbling,” Schmidt said. “I also can reflect on what I didn’t have in my internships that I can provide for Andy and other future interns.”

"To have the full circle experience with current students and be in a position to provide an internship and experience for somebody is very humbling.”

Mason, a senior in the sport management program, is finishing up the final lap in his internship with AutoGrowl and at UD before graduating and starting a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He said the internship has taught him about working with a customer relationship management software, ad management on social media and search engines, website audits, and sales and outreach.

“I’ve never had experience with a marketing company before,” Mason said. “When they reached out to me about an internship, I wasn’t sure what it would entail, but I knew I wouldn’t find a better opportunity to work with people I trust and who will allow me to grow in the areas most important to me.”

Mason said some of the work pushed him outside of his comfort zone, but those are the exact experiences Titlebaum encourages his students to pursue.

“I tell the students it’s OK to be uncomfortable — that’s when learning takes place,” said Titlebaum, who has been teaching at UD for 28 years. “Since most internships are not paid, and I know what it costs to be a college student, my hope is the students get their value where we find a partner who is willing to invest in them.”

Both Schmidt and Mason cite Titlebaum’s mentorship for helping them push for and achieve more. As a student, Schmidt was deciding between art, sport management and a business major, and found Titlebaum’s advice helped steer him in the right direction. Mason also pointed to Titlebaum’s encouragement and nudges as the support he needed.

“Dr. Titlebaum will always care about helping his current and past students excel,” Mason said. “He’s constantly coaching you and reaching out to you, and not many people would do that. I appreciate what he’s done for his students. I want to be able to help others in the ways he has helped me.”

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