Mike Sundheim lives life on the go. As Vice President of Communications and Team Services for the Carolina Hurricanes NHL team, Sundheim knew it would be harder to complete a master’s program the traditional way. As a result, he looked to NC State Online and Distance Education to help accomplish his educational goals.
Sundheim earned the Professional Master of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Sport Management degree in 2015 from the College of Natural Resources. He said the online format suited his busy travel schedule.
“I was able to participate in [PRTSM] classes from hotel rooms and arenas all over North America and not really miss a beat,” Sundheim said. “Most of us cannot afford to take two years off from our jobs, for both financial and career-path reasons. This was a great way to continue progressing at my workplace while also earning a degree and broadening my horizons educationally.”
Sundheim said his professional focus has always been on communications. His undergraduate degree was in journalism.
“I liked the program at NC State because it gave me exposure to different areas — including things like data management and Geographic Information System (GIS) that were a little more out of my comfort zone,” Sundheim said.
One of the courses that stood out for Sundheim was the organization behavior course. He said it was interesting and proved useful in his career.
“My company was going through some leadership changes at the same time I was taking the course and it gave me a really unique perspective on the direction of the company and how things could be improved,” Sundheim added.
Sundheim credits his online program with giving him a better perspective and understanding of different areas of sports management and how everything fits together to form a successful team and business.
“It’s made me a more confident leader and hopefully a better coworker,” Sundheim said. “There are sacrifices and some long weeks here and there. But in the end, the new perspectives and experiences you gain are worth it,” he added.
Many people would think it might be harder to connect with classmates through an online format, but Sundheim said that wasn’t the case for him.
“You also meet some amazing people in your classmates and professors, and believe it or not, I formed stronger relationships through the online format than any traditional classroom setting,” Sundheim said.