Why did you choose the Belk College MBA over others?
Everything I was searching for in an MBA program was present in Charlotte, and it was honestly impossible to turn down the opportunity. The program allowed me the flexibility to play football and work in an up-and-coming business city. As I began to plan for a transition into a business career, I could not think of one reason why Charlotte was not the perfect place to be.
How has being a leader on the football field related to your studies as an MBA student and athlete?
The most impactful lessons have been about commitment, time management, and patience. In football, it is unheard of to succeed if you are just doing the bare minimum every day. It takes an extra level of determination and commitment to show your coaches, whose careers are on the line, that they can trust you with the different game plans they implement on a weekly basis. This is similar to learning new material in classes and having the discipline to keep up with the material as a course progresses. Time management and planning have been paramount to my success as a student-athlete. Without properly allocating time for homework, injury treatment, social events, etc. outside of mandatory football, school, and work events, I would not be where I am today. Patience, a word that is becoming almost foreign to many in my generation, this is a lesson that sets me apart from others. Everyone wants the quick fix that ultimately ends up as just a bandaid when stitches were needed. For the majority of the year, we do not have football games and no one sees the work that is put in during the off-season. My teammates and I could easily take months off, but we know that is not what it will take to have a successful season. That work ethic paired with patience has taught me that the overnight successes people always talk about are not sudden at all. They are a culmination of years of hard work that came to fruition when an opportunity finally arose.
What activities are you involved in when you are not working or practicing?
Community service has always been a big part of my extracurricular activities throughout college. In Charlotte, I have been involved with Team Impact and the Second and 7 Foundation to work with some amazing children. Team Impact works to connect children dealing with disabilities or limitations in their lives. Essentially, our team drafts a child to become part of our football team's family. We go to events with the family and the kid comes to our football facility to watch practice, games, and interact with the guys that are part of Team Impact. The Second and 7 Foundation was founded by a former football player to stress the importance of education and literacy to second graders. I was paired with one class at a local elementary school. Books were provided for me to read to the kids every other week to encourage the goals of the organization and positively impact the kids.
What have you learned in the MBA program that has best prepared you for your career?
Being a student-athlete, I have not been able to build up much work experience, so a lot of the preparation for my future career has come through the advice of others. Class discussions and interacting with other students outside of class have been huge in my development and outlook on life. I have been able to hear stories from people that are much more experienced than me. I feel like I have learned a lot from their career successes and mistakes that I can hopefully apply to my own life.
How would you describe the Belk College of Business to someone considering a master's degree?
The Belk College of Business MBA program is a mixture of intelligent individuals from every career field you can imagine. Entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, engineers, journalists, etc. are all gathered together sharing their experiences and not only investing in themselves but investing in each other. The value of the MBA program does not just come from the courses offered; it comes from the students and faculty I have been fortunate enough to interact and build relationships with.