Information Sciences and Technology

IST alumnus ensures smooth operations at Dodger Stadium

Eric Brandman, 2011 Penn State alumnus, serves as director of strategy and analytics for MLB team’s concessions provider

Eric Brandman, a 2011 graduate of the College of Information Sciences and Technology, manages the analytics for the food and beverage operation at Dodger Stadium. Credit: ProvidedAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Eric Brandman, a 2011 alumnus of the College of Information Sciences and Technology, is using the skills and education he gained at Penn State to improve the fan experience at one of the country’s most recognizable Major League Baseball (MLB) parks — Dodger Stadium.

Brandman serves as director of strategy and analytics for E15, the technology and analytics subsidiary of Levy, the hospitality partner at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. In this role, he manages the analytics for the food and beverage operation.

“My eyes had been opened to a market with incredible opportunities [with the Dodgers] in that food, beverage and retail are huge aspects of the business,” Brandman said. “The Dodgers have one of the biggest capacities of any ballpark in the country. Helping them to optimize their revenue, and make the best experience for fans in the stands, is a challenging and rewarding experience.”

Working for E15, Brandman examines what products the company should offer, and at what price point and in which locations within the stadium. One of the products on Brandman's radar is the Dodger Dog, perhaps the most famous hot dog in the Major Leagues.

“The Dodger Dog is our signature here at the stadium,” said Brandman. “When someone thinks of food here, that’s top of mind. For each game we take a look at a number of factors and how many we think we’ll sell, and then have a cushion in case we outperform our projection.”

He explained that the age and layout of the ballpark has led to some optimization opportunities in making sure each food stand within the stadium has on ongoing supply of hot dogs and other concessions items. In addition to making sure all fans have access to the signature hot dogs, Brandman strives to optimize operations throughout the ballpark. On game days, he and his team walk around the stadium looking for lines at concession stands, either directing fans to other booths with shorter lines or arranging additional staff to help behind the counter.

“We are the eyes and ears on the ground to make sure fans are getting a great experience,” said Brandman. “If operations are moving smoothly in a concession stand, then fans are happy.”

The road to MLB started at IST

Brandman’s road to the major leagues started at the College of IST, where he majored in security and risk analysis. Though the major was still relatively new when he applied, he quickly learned that the core skills taught in the classroom would impact his future career.

“What’s great about IST is that they’re teaching you a little bit about a lot, rather than drilling you into learning one idea,” Brandman said. “IST teaches you that everything is a group project or presentation, which is similar to real-world situations. It made me feel a little better-rounded, rather than being hyper-focused on one particular aspect of my education.”

That approach enabled Brandman to build his professional network and participate in diverse internships before graduating.

“I had three internships before I graduated. The first was with Tiffany & Co. I [spent] one summer there when I was a sophomore with the IT Security Group,” Brandman said. “My junior year I interned with Air Products and Chemicals in Allentown, Pennsylvania, in their Innovation and Tech Group. Lastly, I interned with PwC in Washington, D.C.”

Brandman credits the support he received from the College of IST’s Office of Career Solutions and Corporate Engagement with making these experiences possible. While the college requires every student to complete at least one internship before they graduate, Brandman was able to work closely with career advisers to secure additional experiences that focused on his professional aspirations.

“I wouldn’t have been able to do any of those internships without Zoe Meyer, [the director of IST’s career solutions office],” Brandman said. “I spent several days sitting in her office going through the pros and cons. Without it (the career services department), I wouldn’t have had the tools to understand what I was getting into.”

This guidance also helped him to launch his career. After completing his final internship with PwC, he was offered a full-time position in consulting with the firm, which is where he began his career. His previous experiences and knowledge helped him to be prepared for what to expect in that role.

“It was a very easy transition knowing there were group projects and presentations,” Brandman said. “During my first year, I led several presentations and felt prepared from previous exposure. Consulting felt like a continuation from what I learned during my time at IST.”

Working in teams was one of the most beneficial aspects of being a student in the College of IST, Brandman said. Doing group work and collaborating with others is something that is comparable to real-life settings, especially in the workplace.

“More often than not, you need to be working with other teams and have a good understanding of how to work with people,” Brandman said. “Group projects and presentations prepared us for what happens in real-life settings. The culmination of classes and different topics also made me feel that no matter where I’d end up, I’d have a pretty good background going into it.”

Without the College of IST, though, Brandman says he would not be where he is today. Help from the career services department and academic advising team during his undergraduate years, as well as the teamwork skills he gained through class projects, fully prepared him for the real world.

“Seeing internships or experience when applying for full-time positions is definitely something that is important to employers,” Brandman said. “Take advantage of the services that IST has, especially career services. That office was extremely helpful for me during my time at Penn State.”

Last Updated August 30, 2019