The NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program has produced another class of graduates, including Redskins Lorenzo Alexander, Josh Wilson, and 2011 receiver David Anderson. After receiving their certificates of graduation this afternoon, each tweeted this foggy picture (above).
Along with the picture, Alexander shared an important sentiment to his followers: “More than just athletes,” he said. As the proud graduate of both of the NFL’s entrepreneurial programs, Alexander has set his sights on a successful business approach both during and after his career on the field.
“It gives you the tools you need to be successful, whether you’re an investor or someone trying to start your own business,” he told me on the phone after the ceremonies finished. “As the owner of my own business with Kedric [Golston], I thought it would be important for me learn the tools of the business world, so we can grow and expand over X amount of years.”
The program is a joint venture between the NFL and Northwestern’s prestigious Kellogg School of Business, and condenses a three-week class into a five-day intense seminar. Alexander reported that classes typically ran for 12-13 hours a day, and the discussions focused on branding, negotiating, finance, equity and management.
Altogether, he took 26 pages of notes throughout the week.
“It was pretty intense, long days, and mentally draining,” he said with a chuckle. “This is the most practical schooling that I’ve had since college, but I love the practical application of this program.
“I already have ideas that I intend to bring back to The Studio,” he added. “We’re going to build the brand by targeting the the marketing at what the customers really want. I’m excited to talk to the ownership group about ways that we can apply these plans.”
It also gave Alexander an opportunity to catch up with former teammates and network with other NFL players. In addition to his Redskins teammates in attendance, he also caught up with college teammate and Browns center, Alex Mack.
“It’s cool, because some of the guys you know by name, and you meet other guys you didn’t know,” he said. “We all shared our business plans, and it was interesting to hear what some of those guys are thinking about trying to do.”
In order to soak up so much information, I had to ask what kind of learner he was in the classroom. Just like any good football player, he explained that he learns through instruction and masters the concept through application.
“My thing is, if I write it down, I know it, but I don’t perfect it until I actually put it into practice,” he said. “I have to actually go out and do it.
“I’m the exact same way on the football field. You can tell me the play, I’ll write it down, and I’ll know it–but I’m not gonna perfect it until I actually do it.”
On the football field, the process begins with meetings and walk-throughs, and ends with a highlight hit on the football field. In the business world, his professor is his coach, and his task is to execute the business plan.
“If I want to work on sales pitches, I can write down all of the things that it takes to make a great pitch,” he explained. “But at the end of that, I have to actually go out and do it.”
Now, with the help of his certificate from the Kellogg School of Business, he is in better position to make the play.