Meet a Mustang with Milan Burgess '16

In this edition of Meet a Mustang, we connect with Milan Burgess ‘16, who is currently working as the Football Operations Coordinator at Minnesota Vikings. Milan has experience working in sports at both the collegiate and professional levels and is incredibly excited about this new role. She cites her strong work ethic and passion for learning as positioning her well for the ever-evolving world of sports. In advance of her upcoming season with the Vikings, the Breck Alumni Office connected with her to learn more about her work.

Milan, thanks so much for taking the time to connect with us! Please tell us about your journey after graduating from Breck in 2016.

Following my 14-year journey at Breck, I went on to attend Loyola University of Chicago, where I studied Sports Management and was a triple jumper on their Division 1 Track and Field team. In the fall of 2017, I transferred to the University of Michigan, where I continued my studies in Sports Management, added a minor in Business from the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, and joined the University’s Varsity Co-ed Cheerleading team.

While at Michigan, I was heavily involved in athletics and other extracurricular activities. Throughout the school year, I cheered year-round at varsity sporting events, including but not limited to Football, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Women’s Volleyball, and Wrestling.

In April of each year, the cheerleading team competed at the National Cheerleaders Association (NCA) Nationals competition in Daytona Beach, FL, where we competed against schools across the country for a national title. In my three years on the team, we won two back-to-back National Championships in two different divisions (2019 and 2021).

Outside of athletics, I served as the Secretary and Treasurer on the Executive Board of the student-led organization, Wolverine Against Racism. I graduated with honors from the University of Michigan in 2021 and am now settling into my new role with the Minnesota Vikings as their Football Operations Coordinator.

We want to hear more about your exciting role with the Vikings! You have a long history of working/participating in Athletics. How have your past experiences led you to this moment in your career?

My past experiences, both working and participating in sports, have helped me tremendously in reaching this moment in my career. Growing up in and around sports not only reassured me that I ultimately wanted a career in the industry, but it also taught me the skills needed to excel within it. Whether it was as a competitive gymnast, collegiate triple jumper, or collegiate cheerleader, each of these experiences required grit, determination, and a strong willingness to learn. Through every phase of my career, I have relied heavily upon these skill sets to ultimately help reach the goals I have set for myself.

While studying at the University of Michigan, I had the privilege of interning with the University of Michigan Football Department in Football Recruiting (2017), I also worked with Learfield IMG College (renamed Michigan Sports Properties) in Sponsorship-linked Marketing (2019), and lastly with the Minnesota Vikings in Team Operations (2019).

Upon graduating in 2021, I was offered a year-long position to return to the Vikings as their Partnership Activation Associate. Given I had previously worked with the Vikings in Team Operations, this role in Partnerships allowed me to gain a holistic perspective of what it is like working for an NFL team - gaining insights on both the football and business sides of the organization.

In March of 2021, I was selected as 1 of 40 total women to attend the 6th Annual NFL Women’s in Football Careers Forum (NFL Women’s Forum). The NFL Women’s Forum provided a space to educate and connect talented female candidates for Football Operations positions in the NFL. The two-day event consisted of a series of panel discussions, presentations, and breakout sessions with various NFL Owners, Head Coaches, General Managers, and Club Executives.

After attending The Forum, I knew a career in Football Operations was what I ultimately wanted to pursue. I spent the next couple of months networking and interviewing, and I ultimately landed my current position working with the Vikings as their Football Operations Coordinator.

How did your Breck education help you to follow your passion in life or in your career?

The Breck community is unique in that it provided me the opportunity to grow alongside my peers. As a result, I was able to build long-lasting friendships and be a part of a lifelong, tight-knit community.

Academically, my time at Breck taught me how to embrace adversity. The summer following my Junior year of high school, I was diagnosed with Dyslexia, which made studying, learning, and ultimately the overall rigor of Breck, much more difficult for me. Given my late diagnosis, I was faced with many challenges, but over time, managed to adapt to my circumstances and discover learning techniques that were better suited to my needs. Even today, I am still learning how to best navigate my Dyslexia, but I credit my time in high school for instilling a sense of resiliency within me.

Do you have any words of advice for our current students or members of the Breck community?

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, and most importantly, always bet on yourself! You know yourself better than anyone, and you know what you are capable of – if you want something, go get it. I learned from a very young age that nothing in life worth having comes easy. It takes grit, faith, and persistence to reach your highest goals. My mindset has always been, if I want something bad enough, I will stop at nothing until I achieve it.

Bonus question: Breck Homecoming is right around the corner. Do you have any great Homecoming memories that you can share with us?

My favorite Breck Homecoming memory has to be watching my younger sister, Pilar Burgess ‘17, be crowned Homecoming Queen.

 

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