Amanda Busick ’08 Brings Entrepreneurship to the World of Broadcast Journalism
By Lea Hart
Amanda Busick (’08) may not have taken the ‘traditional route’ when she graduated from Poole College of Management with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, concentration in entrepreneurship, but the spirit of The enterprise instilled in NC State was nevertheless crucial.
Busick is an award-winning sports journalist specializing in motorsports. Currently working freelance, her impressive list of roles includes reporting for the National Hot Rod Association on FOX Sports, as a Pit Lane anchor and reporter for the SRO America GT World Challenge on CBS Sports, and a number of other roles, some of which focus on women in motorsport. She is also an event host and presenter, having recently served as a live event host at the official announcement of the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Las Vegas.
Arrive early at NC State
Busick grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and attended Northeast Guilford High School. She had enough credits to graduate from high school a semester early and applied to NC State because the university was accepting entry-level students.
“Without a doubt, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made,” she said. “The entrepreneurship program has changed my life.”
Without a doubt, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. The entrepreneurship program has changed my life.
At the same time, his goal has always been to do something in the media. She had a special love for the sport, growing up watching games at Carter-Finley Stadium and Reynolds Coliseum. She laughs that the two times a year they were allowed to skip class in her family were the ACC Tournament and the NC State Fair. She interned with WFMY 2 while in college, focusing on sports broadcasting.
The entrepreneurial spirit had also surrounded her growing up. His father owned his own business. Tragically, he was killed in a work accident when she was three years old. Her mother 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 female business owner,” Busick said. “Moving from that traumatic event to leading a business in what was an unconventional role for women was inspirational.”
The entrepreneurship program was new to Poole College when Busick enrolled and she embraced the program. Project-based work has paired her with College of Engineering and College of Design students, providing unique opportunities for collaboration and idea sharing.
“Working with these colleges was so special back then,” she said. “It boosted my motivation and my desire to succeed.
“I felt like I had received a special gift.”
Pursuing what she loved, despite the obstacles
Graduation came just as the recession hit in 2008, and jobs were scarce. She had worked at Sullivan’s Steakhouse in college and returned there. But Busick never lost his drive or his entrepreneurial spirit. At a time when students were graduating and leaving the area to work elsewhere, Busick decided to work on a series of videos showcasing Raleigh and all there was to love about living there.
She ended up covering the Jimmy V Celebrity Golf Tournament, interviewing the sports celebrities in attendance and turning it into a reel to showcase her own talents and abilities.
From there, she returned to media and journalism, moving to New York City where she served tables at night and interned during the day.
“The kids I sponsor now, I ask them about their financial strategy around their careers,” she said. “You can use that first, second, or third job so you can support yourself while pursuing your passion.
“Flexibility in the hospitality industry was key for me.”
The road from there wasn’t always easy, but through hard work and networking, Busick made a name for himself.
She logged into the ACC network in Charlotte, and although they didn’t have room for her at the time, she continued to check in once a month until she was offered a place about a year later. This brought her to Chicago where they had founded a new college sports network. She started out as a production assistant and one of only six employees.
“When you’re one of the six, you do it all – it sparked this entrepreneurial side in me,” Busick said.
When introduced to her colleagues there, Busick was called “the one who wouldn’t leave us alone”.
“That’s how it went – my impatience is kind of my ambition,” she said. “I had this relentlessness, especially in my twenties, that my foot had to be in the door in front of my contemporaries.”
With so many people wanting to work in the sport, Busick said it involves a lot of sacrifice.
“Sometimes it’s the paycheck, sometimes it’s the life…you’re definitely going to miss a lot,” she said. “It’s the love of work that keeps you going.”
For Busick, the sacrifice seems to have paid off. She then hit the road for ESPN, where she was assigned to work with Beth Mowins, a longtime sportswriter who impacted Busick as another female role model.
A family emergency prompted Busick to leave the business altogether, and she spent time in an entirely different career, selling meat in 2015. She thought she wouldn’t be returning to the business then, but eight months later, Busick heard of an opportunity with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) for a multimedia journalist.
She was off again, flying out to one of their national events and making some content to showcase her talents. They invited her to host their red carpet event and offered her a job that night – Busick had left for Los Angeles.
Momentum built from there – Busick was hired as a broadcaster for the NHRA on behalf of FOX Sports, and by 2019 had built her career and network to such an extent that she was able to go independent, return to North Carolina, and work on behalf of a number of clients in broadcast and event roles.
Attach everything to the beginning
When asked how this degree in entrepreneurship prepared her for this path, Busick quickly replied, “that was it.”
“I was working on internships, giving mock pitches to local VCs or angel investors,” 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 expecting her to meet “real world” expectations while she was still in college was exactly the training Busick needed.
She also credits faculty as the key to her success.
Their pursuit of excellence was something I gravitated towards. It was the whole idea of doing what you love.
“Their pursuit of excellence was something I gravitated toward,” she said. “It was the whole idea of doing what you love.”
The words of an NC State entrepreneurship professor still resonate in his head today, “luck 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 up to that “next step,” Busick said she wasn’t sure she would be where she is today without NC State.
“It was the whole collection – the path of my education, the teachers in my life who were completely irreplaceable, the community that I was able to build from our former students,” she said. “I don’t think I would be where I am right now without it.”