Rutgers MBA Students Receive Wisdom from Former Athletes

MBA students at Rutgers Business School had the opportunity earlier this summer to hear from a panel of distinguished athletes turned entrepreneurs and philanthropists on the qualities that have made them successful in both business and sports.

Organized by finance and economics professor James Bicksler, the panel included entrepreneur and former heavyweight boxing champion of the world Larry Holmes, foundation spokeswoman and former University of Iowa basketball center Marla Hanks, business owner and professional boxing referee Ricky Vera, as well as rowing official and acting dean of the Rutgers University School of Law in Newark Ronald Chen. The panel was moderated by nonprofit founder and hall of fame rhythmic gymnast Wendy Hilliard.

MBA students in Bicksler’s Investment Analysis class were able to engage the members of the panel. Resilience, determination, and discipline were themes that emerged from the panel discussion as participants recounted their personal formulas for success in both their athletic endeavors and subsequent business ventures. Hilliard highlighted an ability to take direction as important in sports and business, while Holmes emphasized the role of perseverance in the face of naysayers as instrumental in his career. Chen set forth fairness as a common thread between his officiating and academic careers, while Hanks stated that branding has been an increasingly important focus for athletes, creating skills that are transferrable to other career directions down the road.

Students in attendance remarked on the rarity of such an opportunity, expressing gratitude that their instructor drew on his networking connections to bring such distinguished guests to campus and commenting that the small class size enhanced each students’ access to panel participants.


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