Rylee Causey, Marketing, Computer information systems
Working at Ultimate Fighting Championship is a far cry from the normal 9 to 5. Inside the 180,000 square foot Las Vegas headquarters, office life moves quick, revolving around the rapid-fire mixed martial arts cage matches the company promotes.
“I like to be at a place where it’s not just sitting at your desk all day,” said Rylee Causey, a senior College of Business student double concentrating in marketing and computer information systems who is serving as a sponsorship activations intern at UFC.
“I really enjoy that kind of energy.”
Over the summer Causey has been working at UFC’s sparkling new facility, brushing elbows with the elite fighters who share the 15-acre campus that combines athletic facilities and company offices.
Causey, who grew up in Las Vegas, went to a high school without any sports teams, so coming to CSU – which has one of the highest winning percentages in Division I athletics – was a treat.
“I really, really enjoyed that,” said Causey.
Her interest led her to take classes in the Denver Broncos Sports Management Institute and when her dad suggested she apply to an internship back home with UFC, it was a natural fit.
Part of Causey’s interest in UFC comes from its rapid expansion. In 2016, the company sold for $4 billion, 20 times what it was worth just 15 years before.
“It’s an awesome company and they’ve just grown a lot,” said Causey.
Her time at UFC has shown her a lot of the company, and she’s been able to collaborate across departments while working to support their sponsors, ensuring contracts are fulfilled, and helping out with events.
Recently, she assisted with one of UFC’s largest events, International Fight Week in Las Vegas, which drew thousands of fans for workshops and dozens of highly anticipated fights.
Charlie Warden, Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA
Being a co-founder of a startup is hard work. Being the co-founder of two startups is a wild ride, but one that is embraced by Charlie Warden, a student in the Global Social and Sustainable Enterprise MBA.
“It’s been busy,” said Warden, who is helping launch FoodWorks with his classmates – a handmade pasta venture with the mission of employing and empowering single mothers – at the same time as he’s serving as CEO for Tersa Steam, a company which aims to provide an in-home alternative to dry cleaning and laundry while reducing the environmental impact of clothing care.
“But, if I wasn’t busy with these two things, I’d be busy with something else,” said the aspiring entrepreneur.
Warden came to the Colorado State University program to refine his business skills through hands-on education and develop his abilities to be an effective manager.
“Trying to create entrepreneurs through an MBA program is a really difficult challenge,” said Warden.
But the GSSE MBA program, where students spend the summer getting real-world experience by creating their own companies and striving to make a positive social impact, offered a unique approach.
“I came to the GSSE program to prove that somebody who cares about ROI can create a business that does well while doing good,” said Warden, inspired by the power of ethical enterprise to help change people’s lives.
“You read a lot of articles and case studies and they all have really real world implications.”
As CEO of Tersa Steam, he found himself pulling from his time at CSU to become an intelligent leader, working to push his companies forward and support his business partners.
Warden tasked himself with raising $150k in investment capital over the summer to aid the efforts of his co-founders.
“We got down to one angel [investor] we wanted to partner with and then it was just a matter of back and forth,” said Warden, who brought the investor onboard and then worked to iron out the details of their contract.
“It’s exciting to be a part of that negotiation, and mainly just to be able to call the team and say, ‘Somebody believes in us, somebody wants to invest in us.’”
Although some people fantasize about starting a company as a fast way to earn easy money, Warden knows the reality is much different.
However, the challenges he’s faced have enabled Warden to bring the hard-learned lessons from Tersa Steam to his GSSE MBA team as they continue to build FoodWorks.
“A lot of times you can have four of the worst days and three of the best days in one week,” he said. “It’s hard; it’s a roller coaster.”
But the dream of charting his own path, and helping people in the process, keeps him moving forward, ever the entrepreneur.