Where Are They Now? Brendan Hefner

Brendan Hefner graduated in May 2014 from Manhattan College with a bachelor’s degree is communication and a minor in digital media arts, and is now working as a production assistant at ESPN.

Hefner at work as a production assistant at ESPN. Courtesy of Brendan Hefner.
Hefner at work as a production assistant at ESPN. Courtesy of Brendan Hefner.

During his time at MC, Brendan interned with the New York Mets in his junior year and NBC Sports during the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia when he was a senior.

“My internships allowed me to work for major companies and get real world experience by working on big projects while being treated as an employee,” Hefner said.

“It took me out of the classroom and put me in a simulated post-grad working position, while still giving me the opportunity to learn and develop skills I’d need for working after graduation.”

Michael Grabowski, Ph.D. and associate professor for the communication department, had Hefner for many classes at MC.

The first time Grabowski saw Hefner he was, “the typical 19-year-old, sitting in the back of the room, baseball cap over his eyes.”

“But as he realized what he wanted to do he became more and more focused and more upfront about wanting to be involved in production as much as he could,” Grabowski said.

“He was very motivated to network and become integrated into professional production communities. He had the skill that I think is probably the most important in production and that is that he would show up,” he said.

“I had some great professors that prepared me very well for what to expect while working in the real world and what steps to take to get jobs following graduation,” Hefner said.

Hefner has been working at ESPN as a production assistant since he graduated.

Hefner said that being immediately employed after graduating from MC has put him in a secure position to pay back his student loans and transition smoothly into living on his own.

“I got the job by applying online and going though an extremely rigorous interviewing process. But, the long difficult process was very worth it in the end,” Hefner said.

Michael Georges, senior at MC, has known Hefner since they attended high school together at LaSalle Academy in Providence, Rhode Island.

In regards to Hefner’s job at ESPN, Georges said, “It’s been his dream job since high school, not even kidding. He could name every mascot from every major D1 conference.”

“He can’t believe it—that everything fell in place. Especially with the formation of the SEC network, how could he not love it? He’s happy where he is for sure,” Georges said.

As for his work schedule, Hefner said that ESPN is not the typical 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job and his schedule is far from consistent.

“ESPN’s motto is ‘Serving Sports Fans. Anywhere. Anytime.’ and it couldn’t be truer,” Hefner said. According to Hefner, ESPN’s motto essentially means that there are countless people working around the clock to make sure that sports fans have constant updates, game coverage and content.

Since Hefner has been at ESPN he has worked on and covered college football, specifically the South East Conference, and will most likely work on college basketball after football season ends.

“I’m involved in the process of first coming up with the idea of a story or segment, and then I work with that idea all the way though, including filming and editing our projects, that are then put on the air,” Hefner said.

In regards to future goals, Hefner wants to become a producer and eventually produce his own sports television program

“I don’t have much to compare it to, but I’m really enjoying working for ESPN and all my co-workers are very happy, so it seems like a place I’d like to stay for as long as I can,” Hefner said.

According to Hefner, the best part about working at ESPN is being able to see the content he produced on television when he gets home.

“It’s great working for a network like ESPN, which is broadcasted internationally, because my friends and family who are spread out all over the country can see the shows I’ve worked on and content I’ve produced no matter where they are.”

Hefner’s advice to MC students is, “Work hard, take risks and never ever doubt yourself or think you can’t achieve something you want bad enough.”

“Go after something you think is unattainable, you might just end up with your dream job.”