J-School Alums Make an Impact at the Milwaukee Bucks
Name: Barry Baum
Title and Organization: Chief Communications Officer, Milwaukee Bucks and Fiserv Forum
Graduation Year and Degree: 1992 BA in Journalism
Name: Arvind Gopalratnam
Title and Organization: Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, Milwaukee Bucks, Executive Director, Milwaukee Bucks Foundation
Graduation Year and Degree: 2004 BA in Journalism
How did your time in the J-School help you get to where you are today?
Barry: The journalism school gave me the tools to become a better and more thoughtful writer and to grasp the most important part of a story. It also taught me how to tell a story clearly, accurately and with vivid details. The J-School, especially my broadcast class with Professor Grimes, also helped me to recognize the importance of deadlines and to manage my time effectively, all of which has played a key role in my career.
Arvind: My time in the J-School established the academic foundation for what has become my professional career. My experiences at UW-Madison and the J-School enabled me the opportunity to pursue an educational track that supported my personal and professional interests. I always wanted to learn and be challenged but have all the while have fun. The J-School curriculum, but more importantly the faculty, really helped shaped who I am today.
With so much going on with the Milwaukee Bucks, what efforts are you most excited about right now?
Barry: I’m very excited about our extensive health and safety plans to continue to bring fans back into Fiserv Forum for Bucks games and, later on this year, for concerts. Currently, the Bucks are permitted to host about 3,200 fans a game, and we hope to increase that number in a safe way as the playoffs grow closer.
I’m also beyond proud to be part of an organization that is a proven leader in the fight for racial and social justice and a strong supporter of small, minority-owned businesses that have been negatively impacted by COVID.
Arvind: The thing that excites me the most about the Bucks is our continued commitment to excellence on and off the court. Our organization’s social responsibility and philanthropic strategy is prioritized across all parts of our organization allowing us to stay dedicated to bringing help and positive impact to communities across Wisconsin.
Through our work in the areas of criminal justice reform, economic empowerment, community health and wellness and youth education and mentorship, I’m excited to bring a voice to the voiceless and advocate for true systematic change alongside all marginalized members of our community.
What advice would you give to a J-Schooler who wants to do what you do?
Barry: Apply for internships in public relations, whether it’s with sports teams or leagues, sports management companies or PR agencies. These opportunities will give you hands-on experience and contacts in the business.
Network with people in the field (check if they went to UW), asking if you could please speak briefly with them to learn about how they got to where they are. Then you should send them handwritten thank you notes.
Additionally, as you start in your career, take on assignments with enthusiasm, ask questions, don’t be the first person to leave work for the day and always remember that details matter.
Arvind: The best advice I can give is: There is no exact blueprint to get to any one of our jobs. Establish, build and invest in the network of relationships required to connect you to that industry, profession and career you want. The first step is to apply what you are learning as fast as possible.