In the Boardroom

The Strength of Student-Athletes

Success on the field. Success in the boardroom.

Two-a-days. Travel schedules. Tournament play. Classwork. Unless you've bee there, you don't really have a true sense of what being a student-athlete entails - the sacrifices and the success. The good news is that the skills you use on the field or in the pool are transferable to the office. Here are three ways you can parlay your unique experience as an athlete to make your interview even stronger: 

  1. You know what it takes to represent a brand - in good times and in bad. As an athlete you represent an important, multi-million dollar brand - your school. And not just during competition, but at the airport, in restaurants, with your teammates. You're always needing to be on. Additionally, whether you win or lose, you know that you are literally the face of your institution; fans, players, and coaches are watching your every move. There's power in the fact that you understand the decisions you'll make in the boardroom are going to be watched, too - by customers, shareholders, and co-workers. Your experience as an athlete makes you well prepared to be a strong, positive advocate for the new brand you'll represent.
  2. You've learned from failure and you've experienced success. As an athlete, you've put yourself on the line against all types of opponents. You've had big wins and tough losses. And, you've fought through both. That's a significant differentiator for you when landing a job. Why? Because it means you've got the ability to work through challenges in the office - like not giving up when funding doesn't come through for a project or by celebrating with your team when a big deal is closed. 
  3. You are able to learn from multiple styles of leadership. In practice, during matches, and throughout tournments, you've faced feedback from head coaches, assistant coaches, strength and conditioning staff, nutritionists, academic coaches, teammates and professors. And, you've had to synthesize all of these different pieces of feedback to grow in your sport and in the classroom. From a hiring perspective, this means you've already been acclimated to learning from a variety of personalities - and from people who might be peers or managers. Your ability to be flexible in taking feedback is a big win for a team since it means you're less likely to be defensive about growing from feedback. 

Student athletes have a difficult job on campus - it's hard to balance competition and academics. But, no matter what path lies beyond the court, you've got a unique experience that can help to separate you from your boardroom competition.