August 24th, 2012
03:45 PM ET

MBAs for pro athletes

By Larry Lazo, CNN

(CNN) - Most professional athletes are well aware of the fact that one day their careers will come to an end. Those who earn salaries in the millions of dollars are most likely financially secure for the rest of their lives provided they are wise with their money. Others are not so fortunate.

"About 75 percent of NFL players are bankrupt within 5 years of retirement," said Doug Guthrie, Dean of the George Washington University School of Business. "They have resources early in their life but they don't have the business skills not only on how to manage those resources, not lose them, but how to deploy those resources and take themselves to another level in the business community."

With that said, there is a new MBA program specifically geared toward professional athletes to help them maximize their financial potential.

"I'm living my dream right now but when this dream ends there's another one that's going to have to take place," said Brendon Ayanbadejo, a linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens. Ayanbadejo is part of the inaugural class of George Washington University's STAR Executive MBA program. It’s a customized program where students meet for 8 hours a day in two-week modules. They'll take 6 modules over two years at select college campuses across the country.

"We all have businesses that we want to do once our careers are over," said Ayanbadejo. "We need to learn the fundamental ways how to grow those businesses and do them the right way."

A modular curriculum to an MBA isn't new, but tailoring it to students worth tens of millions of dollars is a new approach. "We want them to be able to channel those resources in becoming great business leaders in society," said Guthrie.

Most of the students are current or former football players but there is some diversity sprinkled in the classroom. "What I really want to learn from this program is how to do things the right way," said Michelle Lau, a professional poker player. "I've always done things through experience and now I just feel like I want to learn the actual terminology and the proper way to do things."

Spouses are also encouraged to apply. Kimberly Starks attends with her husband, former NFL player Duane Starks. "There's a lot of pressure," she said. "There are a lot of papers that are due, homework assignments, blogs, exams... it's high-paced."

"We want them over the course of these 18 months to 2 years to really be thinking deeply about who they are going to become as business people," said Guthrie. "What types of finance accounting, management, leadership skills they need to get to make that happen and then how to get them the access to the people that can help them along the way."

Ayanbadejo says he isn't ready to walk away from pro football yet but wants to have his future mapped out as best he can right now. "Time waits for nobody so I gotta get it done now," he said. "There is a dream after football."

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  1. How To Make Money Online

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    September 2, 2012 at 7:15 am |
  2. Sean

    Yes I agree

    August 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  3. Cairlyn1075

    I think it's a good idea, because they will just spend all there money if they don't do it. If I were them, I would do it.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  4. Carson

    I think it's a good thing because it helps them to have them have something to go back to after they are done with professional sports so that they don't end up broke.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  5. Eli

    I think it is maybe a good idea because they are going to get the money but then blow it of for else they, but I do believe most won't even go anyways.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  6. Sierra

    I think it's good that they actually think about the stuff they have to have after they are done with the sports cuz money isn't everything

    August 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  7. Killian

    I agree cause they don't think about there future so they'll just spend there money and live on the streets in the future

    August 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  8. Ben

    I think it is a great idea because they will have something to fall back on after they retire from the sport that there playing or get injured from that sport and they can keep getting more money.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  9. Sydney

    I think it is smart because other wise when they re done with sports they can still make money!!!! 🙂

    August 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  10. Colby

    I think its smart, because they will think I have the most money.And then they will spend it all then they will have a lot of debts, and end up living on the streets.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  11. Arial6

    I think it's a good Idea to do this. The reason is because after sports they have nothing. They will have money and they will just go blow that all. So if they get a degree then they will have something to do. They won't have all their money gone they will have money to have a house, and all the stuff they need.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  12. Whitney

    I think it's great that athletes or retired athletes are able to get a good education while doing what they love.

    August 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  13. Tristan

    I bet barely anyone will go from the pros

    August 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  14. Colby

    Ithink that it is a good idea to provide education to them so that they can still earn money and they won't be broke

    August 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  15. Tristan

    I think it's a great idea but I bet barely any of them will ever go .

    August 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  16. thename24



    August 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • deekay

      I believe that there is a money making approach to the GRE, GMAT, and SAT as well. Please remember, that these scores my be used as an indicator and by no-means imply that one will pass a class. Dedication and Commitment are required. I applaud them all.

      September 5, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  17. Ben

    Don't you have to have a Bachelor's degree in something at least before getting Mastser's degree? If yo'ure just going to sell these guys a diploma let's not pretend that 12 weeks of 40 hours a week in class is equivalent to going to college. What a sad scam just swindle these folks out of their wealth. Find me any top tier MBA program that would even consider 12 weeks of coursework to be equivalent to a degree.

    August 25, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Chris A.

      Most (if not all) of these athletes have college degrees already. They're in the NFL because they played in college to get there.

      Business school is mostly about making connections anyway. They're probably getting the same level of training as at other MBA programs. GW is a pretty good school regardless, but it isn't as if you need a Harvard MBA to understand how to manage your money and make sound financial planning decisions.

      August 26, 2012 at 1:29 am |
  18. GenericMan

    If you already have millions, just live within your means and forget the MBA. Volunteer if you are feeling useless.

    August 25, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Ricoshey

      I totally agree with your statement. Many like to live beyond their means to outdo the other. It's not necessary.

      August 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
      • yoyoma

        i completely agree. they worke hard but they still were blessed enough to be in that position ,live within your means and help others.

        August 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  19. andres

    Great idea ! most people who are fortunate enough to have a great windfall usually have no idea of what to do to ensure a continuing revenue stream. Not just athletes need this but those dumb luck lottery winners need this as well.

    And if this works for several athletes then over time peer pressure will filter down to the young guys. I like it!

    August 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
  20. Jerry

    Most of these guys graduate from impressive colleges. Why can't they manage their money? Surely they aren't treated differently because they are athletes.

    August 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • andres

      How many graduates are any good at handling their money? Dam n few are. You need to look no further than your fellow wage slaves who are always behind the 8 ball on their bills.

      August 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Matthew

      Because they're pushed through college. They don't really "earn" a degree. Football takes precedent over school, and they're not even allowed to profit off of that

      August 26, 2012 at 12:06 am |
  21. Please

    A bunch of steroid-fed, barely literate neanderthals making important business decisions. Great.

    August 25, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  22. No Bull

    This s a big con job. An MBA degree does not make any one a buinessman or entrepreneur. The MBA program teaches the students to be ADMINISTRATORS, that's all.

    August 25, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • WhatABunchOfCritics

      What a bunch of near sighted critics.
      To the idiot that says they are beoing tought how to administer. Well, guese what. Part of administration is knowing when to spend money and on what.

      As much as I dislike LeBrawn James, I do applaud that he has already invested in various buisness's that are follow what he likes. He owns a bicycle buisness.

      Jesus people, these people even at the lower end of the pay scale. If they take these class's, maybe they will invest their money early in their careers. And have something to fall back on. Have their buisness's already estableshed.

      August 25, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • andres

      Hmm, do you have an MBA or are you just blowing it out of your bottom end out of ignorance? I an MBA late in life and use is every day in the business I now own and operate. The MBA changed my life and the way I run my life all for the better.

      August 25, 2012 at 8:37 pm |