Business Administration (General)

Second Major



Cooper, Elizabeth

Advisor Department

Entrepreneurial Management




business, leadership, athletics


Out of the over 15 million college students in the United States, there are only about 400,000 that are NCAA recognized student-athletes. People believe the skills student-athletes develop in their athletic careers will help them throughout their entire lives in professional, family and community settings. These qualities are the same sought after by large organizations and they often invest large sums of money into professional development. In fact, a number of CEOs of current Fortune 500 companies including Jimmy Immelt of GE, Edward B. Rust Jr. of State Farm Insurance and Lynn Laverty Elsenhans of Sonoco were student athletes during their undergraduate college careers. These current business leaders, as well as many others, attribute their business successes to skills they developed through college athletics.

My objective for this project is to thoroughly examine college athletics as a predictor of success in a business environment. Using research from fields including sport psychology and leadership theory, this project helps to establish comprehensive understanding of the common traits needed to be a successful student athlete and a successful professional. Furthermore, it serves as a guide for current student athletes to examine their current habits and practices and apply them to their future careers. This research is accompanied by a survey of current student-athletes’ views on their own careers and future prospects after college as well as corroborations from current business leaders who were athletes in their undergraduate years. This paper represents the attempt to understand the expectations that lead to the successes of student-athletes and business professionals alike.

Included in

Business Commons