Head in the Game: LA Clippers Exec Shares Life and Career Advice

  • Eric Chan stands talking with several students after his formal presentation.

    Students gathered around Eric Chan to ask more questions after his presentation, which launched this semester's Distinguished Speaker Series from the Nazarian College of Business and Economics on Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Sonia Gurrola.

  • Eric Chan and Jang Lee sit on stage for a discussion.

    Eric Chan and CSUN alumni Jang Lee ’97 (Accounting) spoke together for the question-and-answer session. Photo by Sonia Gurrola.

  • Eric Chan stands on stage addressing the audience.

    Eric Chan spoke about his life and career philosophies at the Distinguished Speaker Series at the Orchard Conference Center on Oct. 12, 2023. Photo by Sonia Gurrola.

Stay curious. Find your purpose. Keep networking. These were some of the key pieces of advice from LA Clippers Chief Financial Officer Eric Chan, who spoke to students and others who gathered at the Orchard Conference Center on Oct. 12, 2023.

Chan launched this semester’s Distinguished Speaker Series — a program hosted by CSUN’s David Nazarian School of Business and Economics that brings business leaders to campus to inspire students. Chan oversees the pro basketball organization’s financial operations, which now includes the Intuit Dome, the LA Clippers’ state-of-the-art arena in Inglewood that will open next year.

Chan’s talk was called “3-Pointers that Changed My Life,” and focused on the practices and philosophies that helped him throughout his career to his current position in professional basketball, where he’s been able to merge his lifelong passion for sports with his head for numbers.

“Three-pointers are actually, statistically, one of the most important shots in the game,” Chan said. His “3-pointer” advice included staying curious and finding opportunities to learn more throughout life, finding one’s “reason for being” as part of the Japanese philosophy known as Ikigai, and the importance of building relationships and networking.

Chan also incorporated multi-media elements, including marketing videos from the LA Clippers basketball team, slides, and even a clip from one of his favorite T.V.shows, “Ted Lasso,” to illustrate his points.

Chan, who attended U.C. Berkeley and Harvard Business School for his undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration, respectively, spoke about the kinship he felt among so many first-generation students at CSUN. Chan told the audience that his parents had emigrated from China. “I felt a lot of responsibility to make good on all the hard work that my parents had put forth over the years,” he said.

At the end of the event, Chan took questions from audience members. Luis Salas, 24, asked about a pathway to training and conditioning professional athletes. He’s studying for his master’s degree in recreational sport management in the College of Health and Human Development. Chan advised starting with high school athletes and working his way up to professional teams. Salas said that’s exactly what he’s doing now. “My jobs right now are as a personal trainer and also a JV basketball coach,” said Salas. “Everything he said really resonated with me.”

Chandra Subramaniam, dean of the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, said what Chan presented was great advice for life, as well as for careers– particularly his tip to keep networking. “You know, we cannot grow by standing in a corner,” Subramaniam said. “Always go out searching for what you can do next.”

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