Senior Lands Dream Internship with the National Football League

by Lauren SchusterSocial Media Editor

Everybody has a dream job, but for senior Ashley Pajer, dreams really do come true. Ever since Pajer was a little girl, she loved watching National Football League (NFL) games with her family. Once she started college as a double major in marketing and data analytics, working for the NFL became at the top of her list of goals.

“I kind of always kept a lookout for the NFL, but you had to be going into your senior year,” Pajer said. “So, I applied, found it online, and kind of tried to network my way to see if I could meet up with anyone or speak with anyone, and it all worked out.”

After successfully networking her way in, Pajer started working for the NFL as a marketing intern over the summer.

“I specifically worked with the consumer insight and research team, so basically they’re a little different than the rest of the teams in the league because they work with all 32 different clubs, as well as all different departments in the league,” Pajer said. “So, we work with the marketing team since we’re a part of them, but we also work with analytics, we work with creatives, production, we kind of work with everyone.”

As part of her work with the consumer insight and research team, Pajer was able to examine the way that fans experience NFL games and what they like or dislike about them.

“The biggest thing that I really got to work on is called the local market report, where we focus on the fan experience and how we can improve that across all 32 clubs,” Pajer said. 

“So basically this past summer I worked specifically on those reports, so we sent out surveys, and collected the data back from those surveys and then kind of put it into creating a story, whether it was positive or negative but trying to spin it in a great way, to show how we can improve their fan experience overall.”

While working for the NFL, Pajer has come to realize the league’s unique qualities that make them stand out as an organization.

“There’s a lot of companies out there that everyone knows, but I thought the NFL was different in that it brings everyone together based on an interest, and it’s not just of football, but it’s of what they do and as a league and an organization,” Pajer said. “They do so much for everyone, for the community. This is their hundredth season, so they’re doing a lot this year between philanthropic initiatives, for their alumni, for their rookies, the current players, so that as a whole kind of drew me in.”

After falling in love with her internship over the summer, Pajer was then lucky enough to be asked to continue her work into the fall semester.

“My biggest thing was just building a network,” Pajer said. “Like I said, this was my dream job, so I kind of wanted to keep it and I wanted to stand out to make myself known. I networked with a lot of people in the company in all different departments. […] So I would say that was kind of my biggest stand out was that when I walked around the building, this is going to sound like I’m exaggerating, but people knew me, they were like ‘hey, Ashley, how are you?’ and then I just asked and I said ‘if you would like to have me in the fall, I would love to help out,’ and they ended up keeping me on.”

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For Pajer, the job has become less about the NFL’s fame and more about the work environment she gets to be a part of and the people that she interacts with every day.

“Now that I’m there, I can see that it’s just so much more than just a league,” Pajer said. “Now when people are like ‘oh my God, you work at the NFL, that’s awesome do you like get free tickets?’ it’s like no, I don’t get free tickets, I mean I get a lot of gear, but it’s just so awesome because I feel like I’m contributing to something so much bigger than me, and the opportunities I’m being given and the network I’m building is so awesome, so it’s completely different than I thought it would be.”

In Pajer’s experience, the NFL never treats anyone on their team like they’re not important.

“The people that I’m working with are awesome, they’re very direct, and they’re so willing to help me,” Pajer said. “Since the day I started I was included on everything, from email chains to meetings to conference calls, literally everything. I was meeting with the Tennessee Titans’ CMO. You don’t get to do that as an intern, and I was being brought in, so that was just super awesome. […] I’ve done other internships and yes I’ve been given real work, but here I’m on email chains with the Steelers, with the Patriots, with the Jets, and I can see that the work that I’m doing is mattering because the teams are responding and saying thank you.”

With graduation on the horizon, Pajer is hopeful about her future relationship with the league she’s come to love so much and has her sights set on a full time job.