With the 12th best undergraduate business program in the country (and #5 for public schools) being a student at Raymond A. Mason School of Business takes an extreme amount of perseverance and grit. Between classes, clubs, and the many networking opportunities the program offers, it can quickly become overwhelming to balance every team meeting or class project. However, the Mason School students are remarkably tenacious, and seem to tackle every project or challenge with ease and enthusiasm.
One subsection of the b-school seems to be particularly skilled when it comes to juggling the undergraduate program with all their other obligations: the athletes. Approximately 15% of the undergraduate business population is composed of varsity student athletes. These young adults must balance a rigorous and involved course load, twenty hours of practice a week, an internship search, a part-time job, extracurricular activities, and a social life. This can certainly seem like a daunting list, but the athletes in the business school have proven to be a dedicated and passionate group of students.
When asked about their keys to success, time management seems to be the common theme among student athletes. Marketing major and swimmer Carter Kale describes how “I keep a pretty strict schedule throughout the week to make sure I am always on top of my work.” Kale explains how he keeps a detailed to-do list on the homepage of his laptop, as well as a calendar app that links to his phone. “That way,” he says, “I always have access to my agenda and am always on time and prepared.” Finance major and swimmer Annie Miller agrees, claiming that “Between school, swimming, and all the other organizations I am involved in it can be difficult to stay on top of everything and not get overwhelmed.” Miller explains how she has a planner where she writes everything down, and how that has helped her stay organized and on top of assignments and projects during the school year.
Still other athletes have found different ways to stay on top of their work. Finance major and swimmer Ian Bidwell describes how he “likes to take advantage of the little windows I have in my day. So, if I have an hour in between classes or before practice, instead of going home I go to a study room to get some work done.”
The workload is intense and the time management challenging, but the athletes express passion for what they do; they believe that the skills they develop from school and swimming will help them in their future careers. “Swimming has taught me important life skills like leadership, team work, individuality, dedication, and perseverance,” Kale states. In turn, his Marketing degree has taught him analytical and leadership skills. Plus, the opportunity to collaborate and work with other business students has proven invaluable. “My favorite part of the business school is the community. It is very refreshing to walk into Miller Hall every morning and see a group of students and professors with similar goals, values, and work ethics as myself.”
Annie Miller agrees, and expounds upon how great the student organizations are at the business school. “I’m on the board of the Women in Business club and have made so many great connections through the club and have been provided with valuable resources for getting started in a finance career.”
As far as advice, Bidwell believes it is important to build relationships with faculty and staff. He explains how “there are so many people in the business school, like Rita in the Boehly Center, who really care about students’ success and want to help them. Miller agrees, and reminds students to “never be afraid to go to their [professors] office hours. It really is so helpful.” She also touches on organizations again, but points out the necessity of maintaining a balance. “You will meet so many great people through the clubs and have access to important resources, but if you over commit you will be stressed and stretched too thin.”
Kale explains the importance of never giving up. Although he acknowledges that the program is rigorous in nature, “it is definitely worth it in the end.” Although the demands of athletics and an intense degree program are challenging, Kale claims that “It is possible to successfully do sports and business, you just need to find the right balance for you.”