Augusta University’s Dilan Shah is not your average college senior on the cusp of graduating in May and attending the Medical College of Georgia in the fall. While some of his peers sought sandy beaches, family time or other freedoms during spring break, the 22-year-old cell and molecular biology major chose to punch a time clock. All week. Early mornings and late nights. At the busiest and most prestigious golf tournament in the world: The Masters Tournament.
“In the past, my spring breaks have been very cliché for a college student. But living in Augusta and having the Augusta National Golf Club seconds away has given me a new appreciation for golf,” said the College of Science and Mathematics student. “During Masters week, the whole city becomes transformed into the mecca of sports, as patrons from all corners of the world come to the city in which I live. I have always wanted to be a part of that experience, and fortunately, Augusta University is one of the few schools in the nation that invites students to work the event.”
The tournament that boasts an experience “unlike any other” partners with the university that is “like no other” and generally hires a few hundred students and faculty each year in all areas of operations like merchandise, hospitality, concessions, security and human resources. In fact, ANGC officials say students, in part, make it possible to deliver a world-class experience to patrons and guests and that Augusta University is a key contributor in helping to provide unparalleled service, attention to detail and continuous improvements each year.
Dozens of students don their required uniform: Masters shirt and jacket, khaki pants, clear backpacks, name badges and comfortable shoes. While the tourney’s total economic impact is an estimated $120 million, according to Dr. Marsha Loda, an associate professor of marketing at Hull College of Business, Shah, who will graduate from the College of Science and Mathematics in May, would agree that student employees’ experiences can’t be quantified in dollars and cents. He quickly discovered that as a merchandise stocker and sales associate at the Member’s Golf Shop, the exclusive pro shop for players and members. The exposure was priceless.
“Fortunately, my position was a great match. Medical professionals are often trained in patient care, so interacting with the patrons came naturally to me. I loved listening to their stories and helping them through their day, whether it was assisting in choosing a favorite shirt or sharing suggestions on how to overcome foot pain. I will never forget when I parked my golf cart right next to Tiger Woods, helped actor Chris Tucker choose a shirt, and sold NFL star Larry Fitzgerald a hat.”
With the return of about 9,600 students to campus, Shah’s post-spring break interactions with professors, classmates or families he guides on campus tours as an 1828 Ambassador “hit different,” as the students say. His time working what many consider to be a coveted job has garnered for him a greater appreciation of the Garden City and the crown jewel that is the Masters.
“AU has an incredible Professional Scholars Program that allowed me to achieve my dream of going to medical school and becoming a physician,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to draw inspiration and obtain real-life experiences from doctors, nurses and technicians, all of whom practice their occupations on my campus.
“Another real-life experience has been the Masters. I would definitely recommend every Augusta University student to have the opportunity to do it at least once. Regardless of whether you enjoy golf or not, it is really nice to finally be part of the culture and popular history our city is known for.”
Information sessions for students wanting to work at the Masters Tournament usually take place each fall on campus. The 2023 Masters Tournament is April 3-9. For more information, contact Career Services.