Twitter Chat: MIT Alumni Take on Pro Sports

by Nicole Morell on February 23, 2015 · 5 comments

in Alumni Life, Athletics, Campus Culture

While some MIT alumni transition to professional sports after they leave the Institute, they’re not getting drafted by the MLB or NBA. They are bringing critical thinking and data analysis to the world of professional sports. Alumni work in every professional sports league in America and events like the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference demonstrate the impact that MIT-style thinking now has on professional sports.

To highlight alumni working in sports we’re hosting an #MITAlum Twitter chat on Tuesday, February 24. at noon EST with off-the-field sports pros Jyoti Agarwal ‘03, Brian Bilello ’97, and Mike Fitzgerald ’11. Agarwal, Bilello, Fitzgerald will take questions on Twitter about their time at MIT, what it’s like working in sports, and the role data and analytics play in their jobs. Learn more about these alumni and bring your questions on Tuesday at noon EST. Tweet your questions and follow the conversation with #MITAlum.

Jyoti-2Jyoti Agarwal Senior Director—Marketing and Media Planning, NBA

As Course 7 major and Course 5 minor, Agarwal left MIT with plans to become a doctor. Agarwal followed a career path that that wound through PUMA sportswear, Harvard Business School, Bain Capital, eventually landing at the NBA. Agarwal says she first fell in love with sports while attending MIT and living in Boston. “I still maintain that there is no better sports city in the world,” she says.

Bilello_BrianBrian Bilello President, New England Revolution

Bilello began working for the Kraft Sports Group in 2003 and was named president of the Revolution in 2011. While at MIT, Bilello played varsity soccer and studied chemical engineering. He recently shared with Slice, “I studied chemical engineering but MIT didn’t necessarily train me to be a chemical engineer. They trained me to solve chemical engineering problems, and I can apply that perspective to my job with the Revolution.”

Mike-FitzMike Fitzgerald Quantitative Analyst, Pittsburgh Pirates

An athlete at MIT, Course 8 major Fitzgerald transitioned from playing wider-receiver for MIT football to working behind the scenes in professional baseball. After graduation Fitzgerald found he missed the team atmosphere that sports had always provided him. Fortunately, Fitzgerald soon joined the Pittsburgh Pirates as a quantitative analyst—a role that has contributed the Pirates’ first playoff appearance in 20 years.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Reid Sheftall MD February 23, 2015 at 6:48 am

Some of us do actually play the game… As a physics major, I played tennis, lacrosse and rowed crew for M.I.T. in the late 70s. Then, in my late 40s, decided to start playing golf again and, after a few months, was discovered by PGA Tour pros Mark McCumber and Paul Azinger who encouraged me to give the Pro Tour a try. I did get my tour card a year later and played professional golf for seven years in Asia, winning twice on the Asian Seniors Tour (the Asian Tour’s equivalent of the Champion’s Tour in the States). I even wrote a book about it: STRIKING IT RICH: Golf in the Kingdom With Generals, Patients (I am also a surgeon) and Pros..


Nicole Morell February 23, 2015 at 10:36 am

You’re absolutely right, Reid. MIT is the all-time Division III in producing Academic All-Americans and currently ranks third across all NCAA divisions with 212 honorees. Both Brian Bilello and Mike Fitzgerald were active in varsity sports while at MIT as well. Thanks for your comment. –Nicole


Hajime Sano February 23, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Thanks for the terrific article. I wish I could attend the chat.

Don’t forget the young man who was recently pitching in the Cubs and Padres farm system and had a few appearances in the show. I don’t know if he is still pitching.


Nicole Morell February 23, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Thanks for your comment, Hajime. I believe you’re thinking of Jason Szuminski ’01, the first MIT athlete to play in the MLB. Thanks for the reminder–yet another alum in the professionals sports world. –Nicole


Anthony Pelosi February 24, 2015 at 3:12 am

Jason was a ’00 in Course 16, and the first MIT undergraduate to make it to the pros. Unfortunately threw out his rotator cuff and moved to San Francisco. His twitter is @JSzuminski if you want to say hello.


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