From Student-Athlete to Sports Business Professional: How to Bring Your A-Game Everyday

From Student-Athlete to Sports Business Professional: How to Bring Your A-Game Everyday

By: Natalie P. Mikolich

More than ever before students are participating in collegiate sports with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) reporting over 460,000 student athletes playing in 23 sports at over 1,200 universities in three divisions this school year.

And, while more than eight out of ten student-athletes will earn a bachelor’s degree, and more than 35 percent will earn a post-graduate degree (per the NCAA), getting to their first career opportunity may not be as easy as one might think for a student athlete.

While many full-time students are busy attending classes, participating in internships and working part-time to get ahead of the game before they graduate college, student athletes have a full time job while in college just juggling their class schedules, studying any free moment they get, making practice times and traveling on the road with the team which doesn’t leave much time for anything else (including having a so-called normal “social life” like the rest of the students on campus – trust me those 6:00 am wake-up calls for practice are painful whether you went out or not the night before).

On the flip side though, student athletes are getting to experience triumphs and opportunities others dream they could be a part of all while learning valuable life and career development lessons for their futures even though they might not realize it at the time.

With the tremendous growth of the student athlete body population over the years recently, there has also become an increased focused to assist these students during these transitions from college life to work life so that they are fully prepared to enter the “real word” and have the same internship and career opportunities as their peers.

Because of this, new businesses have launched catering to student-athletes, university athletic departments and even employers looking to hire student athletes like the Game Theory Group ( out of North Carolina that is offering a comprehensive “game plan” for all groups involved.

Although services and companies like Game Theory Group weren’t around in my tennis swinging days (first at the University of Florida on their NCAA Division I Team Champions and then at the University of Miami on their women’s varsity tennis team), I know I am not the only former student athlete who is glad they are here today for everyone else.

Like many other student athletes who are approaching graduation, we first look to our sport when seeking out career opportunities including many of those in the sports business field.  Regardless though of what industry or position we end up at, we have learned and acquired some pretty tremendous skills and “intangibles” from our competitive sports playing days to carry with us on our career journeys.

Here is a closer look at seven of these intangibles we student-athletes possess (although like I said some may not know it) and how they apply to working in the sports business industry today whether you played collegiate sports or not so you can be prepared to bring you’re A-Game every day.