By Lea Hart
Amanda Busick (’08) may not have taken the “traditional path” when she graduated Poole College of Management with a Bachelor of Science in business administration, entrepreneurship concentration, but the entrepreneurial mindset instilled at NC State has been crucial nonetheless.
Busick is an award-winning sports broadcast reporter focusing on motorsports. Working in a freelance capacity currently, her impressive list of roles include serving as a reporter for the National Hot Rod Association on FOX Sports, as a presenter and Pit Lane reporter for the SRO America GT World Challenge on CBS Sports, and a number of other roles, some of which include a focus on women in motorsports. She serves as an event host and emcee as well, recently serving as live event host on Formula 1’s official Las Vegas Grand Prix announcement.
Busick grew up in Greensboro, NC and attended Northeast Guilford High School. She had enough credits to graduate high school a semester early, and applied to NC State because the university accepted early entry students.
“Without a doubt, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made,” she said. “The entrepreneurship program changed my life.”
Without a doubt, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. The entrepreneurship program changed my life.
At the same time, her goal had always been to do something in media. She had a particular love of sports, growing up watching games at Carter-Finley Stadium and Reynolds Coliseum. She says with a laugh that the two times a year they were allowed to skip school in her family were the ACC tournament and the NC State Fair. She interned with WFMY 2 during college, with a focus on sports broadcasting.
The entrepreneurial spirit had surrounded her growing up as well. Her father owned his own business. Tragically, he was killed in a work-related accident when she was three. Her mom took over the business, building highways for the state, and Busick grew up with an entrepreneurial female role model at the center of her life.
“She was a woman business owner,” Busick said. “To go from that traumatic event to leading a business in what was an unconventional role for women, it was an inspiration.”
The entrepreneurship program was new to Poole College when Busick enrolled and she embraced the program. Project-based work paired her with students in the College of Engineering and the College of Design, providing unique opportunities for collaboration and the sharing of ideas.
“Getting to work with those colleges was so special at the time,” she said. “It furthered my motivation and desire to achieve.
“I felt like I’d received a special gift.”
Graduation came just as the recession hit in 2008, and jobs were scarce. She’d worked at Sullivan’s Steakhouse during college, and went back to that. But Busick never lost her drive or entrepreneurial spirit. At a time when students were receiving their diplomas and leaving the area for jobs elsewhere, Busick decided to work on a series of videos showcasing Raleigh and everything there was to love about living there.
She ended up covering the Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Tournament, interviewing the sports celebrities in attendance, and turned that into a reel to showcase her own talents and abilities.
From there, she worked her way back onto the media and journalism path, moving to New York City where she waited tables at night and interning during the day.
“The kids that I mentor now, I ask them about their financial strategy around their career,” she said. “You can use that first, second or third job to be able to support yourself while pursuing your passion.
“The flexibility in the hospitality industry was key for me.”
The path from there wasn’t always a straight one, but through hard work and networking, Busick made a name for herself.
She got connected with the ACC Network in Charlotte, and though they didn’t have a place for her at the time, continued to check in once a month until she was offered a spot about a year later. That took her to Chicago where they’d founded a new college sports network. She started as a production assistant and one of only six employees.
“When you’re one of six, you do everything – that sparked that entrepreneurial side of me,” Busick said.
When she was introduced to her co-workers there, Busick was called “the one that wouldn’t leave us alone.”
“That’s just how it’s been – my impatience is kind of my ambition,” she said. “I had this relentlessness, especially in my 20’s, that my foot needed to be in the door ahead of my contemporaries.”
With so many people who want to work in sports, Busick said a lot of sacrifice came with it.
“Sometimes it’s salary, sometimes life…you are without a doubt going to miss a lot of things,” she said. “It’s the love of the job that keeps you going.”
For Busick, the sacrifice seems to have paid off. She went on the road for ESPN next, where she was assigned to work with Beth Mowins, a long-time sports journalist who made an impact on Busick as another female role model.
A family emergency prompted Busick to leave the business altogether, and she spent time in a totally different career, selling meat in 2015. She thought she wouldn’t get back into the business at that time, but eight months later, Busick heard about an opportunity with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) for a multimedia reporter.
She was off again, flying herself to one of their national events and doing a few content pieces to showcase her talents. They invited her to host their red carpet event and offered her a job that night – Busick was off to Los Angeles.
Momentum built from there – Busick was hired as a broadcaster for the NHRA on behalf of FOX Sports, and in 2019 she’d built her career and her network to a point that she was able to go freelance, move back to North Carolina, and work on behalf of a number of clients in broadcast and event roles.
When asked how that entrepreneurship degree prepared her for this path, Busick is quick to say, “it was everything.”
“I was working on practicums, pitching to local VC’s or angel investors in mock presentations,” she said. “I remember I failed the first one – it was such a learning experience; you don’t know what you don’t know.”
Understanding presentation styles, and the expectation that she would meet “real world” expectations while still in college were exactly the training Busick said she needed.
She also credits the faculty with being key to her success.
Their pursuit of excellence was something that I gravitated towards. It was the whole idea of doing what you love.
“Their pursuit of excellence was something that I gravitated towards,” she said. “It was the whole idea of doing what you love.”
Words from on NC State entrepreneurship professor still ring in her head today, “chance favors the prepared mind.”
“NC State is what prepared me,” she said.
With so many moments in life and choices that can be made that lead to that “next step,” Busick said she’s not sure she’d be where she is today without NC State.
“It was the whole collection – the path of my education, the professors in my life that have been completely irreplaceable, the community that I was able to build out of our alumni,” she said. “I don’t think I would be standing where I am right now without it.”
2801 Founders Drive
Raleigh, NC 27695
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By Lea Hart