Former basketball star slam-dunks graphic design career

Mike Scott, ’02, implements the design skills he learned in college and his love for basketball to create a graphic for Rider Athletics. Scott played basketball for Rider while studying fine arts. He now works as the director of creative services for the New York Jets and is the president and lead designer of MAS Graphic Arts, which he started with his wife, Nilsa Britto-Scott.

By Dave Nugent

One of the biggest concerns among college students is the inevitable question of what happens after the excitement of graduation dies down. In order to help students feel more at ease, professors often ask guest speakers to come in and discuss their experiences in the real world. One such speaker is Mike Scott, Rider basketball alumnus and ’02 graduate. He currently works for the New York Jets as the director of creative services.

Like many young people, Scott was unsure of what steps he needed to take toward his future until he found something that sparked his interest. In his case, it was a publication class he took during his junior year in which he learned how to use InDesign. However, Scott’s concern remained until he ran into Cathy Carter-Romero, director of publications and creative services.

At the time of the encounter, Carter-Romero was working on an article for Rider University Magazine about Scott’s teammate and 2008 Rider Athletics Hall of Fame inductees Mario Porter, ’02, and former Head Coach Don Harnum, who now serves as athletic director. Scott drew an illustration for the article “Shooting for a Bright Future,” which appeared in the spring 2001 edition of the magazine.

According to Carter-Romero, Scott was always willing to learn and take on more projects. At the time, Rider did not offer a Photoshop class, so Scott became acquainted with the program at Mercer County Community College.

“Mike learned as he did things,” Carter-Romero said. “He was always anxious to try something new. Sometimes, he’d be up all night with a gnawing problem in his head.”

She added that Scott scored a job with the Jets because of his artistic talent and he understands what it’s like to be an athlete.

Carter-Romero also credits Scott with starting a tradition at Rider. She said Scott developed the first hand-drawn MAACness T-shirt in 2001 — a 9/11 patriotic theme with an illustration of an Uncle Sam Bronc saying, “I want you at the zoo.”

In addition to working for the Jets, Scott also started his own graphic design business with his wife, Nilsa Britto-Scott, who graduated from Rider in 2007. The business is called MAS Graphic Arts and opened this past April. Britto-Scott also works for Metropolitan Life Insurance Company.

According to Scott, in order to start a business successfully, the people behind the endeavor need a solid foundation. The pursuit of a profit is not enough.

“As soon as you start chasing money, most likely you’re going to collapse,” he said. “I’m not money-hungry, but I know it’s out there. When I saw the prices with the Jets, I knew I could do my own thing.”

When asked to compare his collegiate and professional experiences, he said working in a college was more of a “family atmosphere.”

Scott admitted that one of the toughest things to get used to in the corporate world is having your work critiqued. He said it’s difficult to work on something you think is great, only to have other people not like it, forcing you to make changes. However, he feels that while this is challenging, it’s also a rewarding experience.

“It makes you better when someone tears your stuff apart,” he said.

After being with the Jets for two years, Scott called Carter-Romero in search for an intern from Rider. That led to another Rider alumnus, Joe Ray, ’10, securing a job as a photographer with the Jets.

Jessica Franko, adjunct professor and Rider graduate with a master’s in business administration in ’06, recently invited Scott to educate those in her graphic imaging for multimedia design class about what to expect after college is over.

Students found Scott’s presentation both informative and helpful.

“I’m really happy he came,” sophomore graphic design major Luc Lataillade said. “Hearing Mike’s insight on what matters after school and how to present yourself is really helpful information.”

Franko said Scott offered plenty of useful advice to the students because he could relate to them.

Even though Scott graduated more than a decade ago, people still know who he is when he comes back.

“I’ve been here 15 years,” Carter-Romero said. “More people know Mike than know me.”

Through his experiences, Scott continues to live by one simple rule he shared with Franko’s class.

“Treat people well wherever you go,” Scott said. “You’ll make it in the field you want.”

For more information on Scott’s company, visit

Printed in the 2/22/13 edition

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