Matthew Steinbach: Head Coach, CMNS Alumus, and Venture Prize Winner

June 08, 2022

Matthew (Matt) Steinbach is the Head Men's and Women's Golf Coach at Simon Fraser University. In his four short years in the position, the teams have won numerous awards and achieved record-breaking results. And the best part? Matt is a School of Communication alumnus!

Recently, Matt tied for the Top Idea Prize in the 2022 Coast Capital Venture Prize, the largest entrepreneurship competition at SFU, for his company One Iota Performance Inc. During the Covid-19 pandemic, Matt and his company colleagues decided they wanted to create a new golf status tracking program that was both quicker and easier to use than the current one used with the SFU golf team.

But they wanted to build something more than just a statistics program. They wanted to also look at the mental side of the golf game. The program uses daily habit tracking, including sleep, eating, and mental wellness patterns, which the One Iota team deemed the most important mental components for peak golf performance.

By using One Iota, coashes can see the long-term continous growth of their athletes, who are getting "one iota" better every single day.

Right now One Iota functions as a website, which you can find here; however, in the future Matt hopes the program will transistion into an app. Winning the Venture Prize has inspired this website-to-app goal.

We chatted with Matt about how his CMNS degree tied into the success of One Iota.

How did your undergraduate courses help you with One Iota?

The main thing that the School of Communication showed me was not only the importance of sports in people's lives but also that communication and sports greatly intersect. All of my courses helped shape my current work ethic. They taught me time management and perseverance.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a degree in communications?

I actually started out as a business major, but then I took a course in the School of Communication called "Sports, Media, and Culture." I instantly liked the professor. His material really appealed to me because it focused a lot of golf, which I was playing at the time as an undergrad. Right after the course ended, I transferred into the School. I did a directed study with the same professor and wrote a paper on the communication technologies involved in golf. I never knew how much the two were related until I switched my major. I was pretty lucky in that way; I knew instantly that the CMNS major was the right one for me.

How did your undergraduate studies help you after graduation?

Almost every job I applied to was looking for a communications skillset. Many employers noted that other candidates were overtrained in areas not pertinent to the role; whereas, my CMNS degree gave me all the skills they needed: digital literacy, marketing, clear and professional communication, etc.

My journey as an undergrad more generally taught me how to balance life. I was an athlete, so I had to juggle going to practices, attending classes, travelling to games, and handing in assignments. You're also living away from home and trying to maintain a scholarship, so I had to learn how to prioritize.

Did you find a job right after convocation?

Yes. I spent about a month applying, then ended up getting multiple offers. So many companies were looking for the skills that my CMNS professors had helped me hone. That's a huge benefit of a CMNS degree. Employers love the skillset CMNS graduates bring to the table.

What advice do you have for CMNS students who are graduating this Friday?

Do everything. If something appeals to you, if you're being pulled in a certain direction, or if there's something you've always wanted to do, try it out. This is the time to experience new things. And sure, these new things may suck. They might be painful, and you might look stupid doing them. But this is your time to take risks. You finished your degree, and the rest of your life is ahead of you.

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