Interning after you have obtained your Master of Business Administration degree isn't the normal order of things.
Of course, 2007 and 2008 were not the best years to be entering the job market, no matter your credentials. And, besides, the passion Alyse LaHue '04, '07 MBA has for the sport of soccer is just a little out of the ordinary as well.
Still, LaHue said her offer to intern for the start-up Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer team in the fall of 2007 caught even the Red Stars owner and general manager off guard.
"The first thing they asked was ‘Why,'" she said. "I was very honest with them. I said I wasn't getting called back for any interviews and I needed to start somewhere. I thought this would an interesting thing to do.
"So there I was, an MBA grad interning for a start-up sports league. I guess I made it work out."
It would seem so. Six years later, at the age of 31, LaHue is the general manager of the Red Stars, a team whose roster includes Olympians from Mexico, Canada and last summer's gold medal-winning US team.
She still is not making the kind of money she might command in the corporate world, but LaHue is fairly certain she is having more fun.
"I played soccer at St. Ambrose, so it has always been a passion," said LaHue, who also served as a graduate assistant coach for the Queen Bees while pursuing her MBA degree. "I just feel there is a need for me to be working where I am, and trying to make this women's pro soccer thing work."
That's no small challenge. The Red Stars this spring were back in a new league, the National Women's Soccer League, after seeing two other leagues fold since 2007.
LaHue believes the new league's partnership with the three North American Olympic programs gives it a fighting chance. She also said watching young girls with a love for soccer interact with their Olympian idols steels her resolve.
"It makes all this worthwhile," said the former intern. "I am exactly where I want to be right now."