This past summer, Ira Dorin ’20, earned a B.S. degree in Business Management and Leadership from Pfeiffer University, in addition to excelling as a middle infielder on the Falcons’ baseball team. After considering a variety of options, he concluded that he should seek gainful employment. Since February, he has worked as an Inside Sales Representative for CourtHarbor, a Winston-Salem, N.C. firm that customizes tennis court products to enhance the branding of clubs and schools.
“I love my job and am grateful I got it,” Dorin said. “But, looking for work after graduating Pfeiffer was definitely a tough decision. At the time, I was at a crossroads, trying to figure out where I fit, what was best for me.”
Dorin, who hails from Lithia Springs, Ga., knew he would be entering the job market at a less-than-optimal moment: The current COVID-19 pandemic was forcing prospective employers to eliminate jobs or delay filling positions. Moreover, because the NCAA had halted play in 2020 because of the pandemic, it was granting another year of eligibility to any student-athlete pursuing a degree full-time. Dorin could enroll in Pfeiffer’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program and play another season for the University’s baseball team.
Such a possibility sure looked tempting. Dorin loved baseball and dreamed of playing pro ball. Pfeiffer’s baseball team did extremely well when Dorin was on it, having finished his junior season (2018-19) with a 30-8 record on the way to defeating Grove City College 9-7 to win the ECAC Division III baseball title.
The 2018-19 season was the last full season played before COVID stopped play in the spring of 2020. Dorin made it a memorable one. He batted .369, with 10 doubles, two triples, three homers and 42 RBIs. He also stole six bases. Defensively, he recorded a .929 fielding percentage while playing at second base. He was named to the USA South All-Conference – 2nd team, and he was on the USA South All-Sportsmanship team.
Not surprisingly, Dorin has had a hard time getting baseball out of his system. In addition to working part-time in sales at a DICK’s Sporting Goods store, he spent much of last summer and fall keeping in playing shape with the goal of -- maybe -- playing another season at Pfeiffer.
In the end, Dorin took a hard look at his situation and concluded that working full-time would be in his best long-term interests -- rather than somehow juggling MBA studies, part-time work, and baseball.
He is considering the pursuit of an MBA once he has gained experience in the workplace and has a better sense of how the degree might help him achieve future goals.
“The way the workforce and society are moving, a master’s degree is becoming a requirement for anyone who wants to earn a good living,” he said.
Dorin has already learned some valuable lessons from his post-graduation time in the world of work. One is that effective job searching is a game of numbers and relationships. He sent out scores of resumes, and he did all he could to introduce himself to prospective employers in face-to-face meetings. He also tapped into his network of Pfeiffer professors, players and students.
One Pfeiffer contact, a pitcher on the University’s baseball team, was Cameron Reid ’20, an Account Manager for SE Logo Wear, Inc., the parent company of CourtHarbor. When Reid heard that CourtHarbor had an opening in inside sales, he urged his former teammate to apply. Dorin said that Reid’s assistance was especially helpful and timely since the process for filling the position was nearing completion.
“Initially, I felt like the underdog in the fight because they weren’t really looking at me,” Dorin said. But, he said, his Pfeiffer connections made a difference, and he was able to secure a position with the company.
Dorin’s B.S. degree concentration was entrepreneurship. His position at CourtHarbor is teaching him some invaluable sales skills that he can use should his career take that path. These range from finding the right mindset for cold calling to coming up with the best ways to cultivate and retain clients (e.g., maintaining good relations with a prospective client can be more effective than simply trying to close a sale at every turn).
Dorin has learned that there are good months and bad months in terms of sales results. For him, the key to getting past slumps in the sales arena is like dealing with a run of bad luck at the plate.
“When nobody’s answering the phone, I relate it back to baseball in the way I respond,” he said. “If I struck out three times in a game, for example, I’d take a step back and look at what I could do to gain from a negative experience. Then, I’d just go and work harder, maybe stay a little later after workouts to get in some extra hitting practice.
“During a bad sales month, instead of going home at the end of a workday, I take more time to refine my pitch, send out a few more emails or make one more call. If you don’t fail, how will you measure your success? If you fail, you know that you can succeed.”
Ken Keuffel, who authored this article, has served as Pfeiffer’s Assistant Director of Communications since December 2019. He welcomes story ideas from Pfeiffer’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends. The form for submitting story ideas is at www.pfeiffer.edu/newsform.