Interview with a Former D1 Football Player-turned Consultant - Part 1

The following is part one of an interview with a Consultant who played D1 football in college (he is also available to answer your questions)

Are you a professional and want to do an interview? View our interview template here and then email me your responses to [email protected]

  1. What's a short description of your job title and what you currently do?
  2. Consultant working mostly in customer impact and channel strategy and product innovation within financial services.

  3. When did you realize you wanted to do the job you do now?
  4. I think my path towards consulting was the same as a lot of other people. I really didn't know exactly what I wanted to do, but I wanted a career that would allow me to keep doors open. Before I did my MBA I completed a M.A. in developmental psych. Thought about doing a PhD but knew that there was no coming back from that. It was to narrow, I didn't want to do research...so doing the MBA left me some more time to think/grow. Consulting seemed like a great opp to keep gaining a positive brand and set of skills while keeping doors open.

  5. What type of person is best fit for the type of job you do?

    Type of person that best fits for this job...on the junior level you need to have intelligence, but...don't use your intelligence as their first form of introduction (basically you have people skills) and has a keen eye for details. Early on you do much more doing than thinking. Do this deck, put together this excel doc. No one's asking for you to come up with the strategy. Once you prove that you can do...then you get to think. Sounds cliche, but the expectation is that you perform well within that confined space.

  6. What is the best way to move up in your specific type of consulting?

    I think the best way to move up (and this is firm specific) is really finding the right coattail to hang on to. I don't mean this in a pessimistic way. You have to be good at what you do... but I think it can be easy to get lost in the shuffle if you don't have a partner or MD who has taken a liking to you and advocates on your behalf. So as you do good work, poke and prod to see if the people you're around are willing to go to bat for you. If they aren't, shake hands and try to find someone who will. Literally, don't waste your time on people that are giving you challenges and opportunites to prove yourself

  7. What motivates you most in your career pursuits?

    What motivates me..initially it was a fear of being a failure. I was great at what I did. There's nothing worse than someone asking you why you didn't make it. People had such high expectations.. I needed something to validate that I was still a success. That has changed now. I don't need to be famous or rich, just in a position where I know that I doing something that my mom can smile about when she talks to her friends. Hopefully my passions and work can one day coincide, but until then I've found a lot of joy in things that don't pay me

  8. How much do you travel? Are you MBB or at a smaller firm?

    I've been lucky to have found some local work as of late. I'm not big on traveling so I try to search for as many opportunities as possible where I can sleep in my own bed. I'm fortunate that I live in a city where there's a lot of work to be done.

    I currently work in Big 4 advisory... I'm happy with where I'm at so far

  9. What sport did you play in college? how successful were you at it?

    I played football in college. I'd like to think I was fairly successful. I wasn't a household name on a national scale. But I was a 3 year starter, team captain (I had to be someones favorite player right lol). We went to the conference championship games a couple times in my tenure. Played at a BCS school. Think UCLA and UVA type football and academics. I don't think I would have been drafted but I'm pretty certain that I would have been in an NFL camp. Went through the whole wining and dining process with the agents and work out facilities. Unfortunately during my senior year I injured my neck for the second time. During my sophomore year I injured my neck for the first time. Had reconstructive surgery on my spine. Had a metal plate put in. Came back the next three years and started. Unfortunately my spinal canal began to narrow once again, I hit a guy and my body went numb. I was carted off the field sobbing...rushed to the hospital... knowing that my football career was over.

  10. Congrats on the success in college, and very sorry to hear about the injuries. In one sentence, what does it fee like to be on the field in a huge game with 70k+ fans cheering you on?

    In one sentence..it feels like walking into the colosseum in the movie gladiator.

  11. How did you become captain of the team (voted by the other players?) - Have you always been a leader?

    I became captain by playing well on the field, never missing a day, sacrificing my body (playing with broken ribs and such), never missing a play, managing my emotions, being a commanding figure in the locker room, not being afraid to cuss out a player or a coach...having the highest level of integrity. (I was voted captain by team members)

  12. Can you describe more specifically how the "wining and dining" process works with agents?

    There's a long continuum in the agent thing. I was on the short end lol. But I lived with guys that were top 10 picks. To be honest I think their process is a little easier because there's only about 3-5 agents that get the top guys. For the rest of us..I think it's very similar to getting recruited all over. No body is allowed to give you anything, but you are constantly fielding calls, listening to pitches, meeting someone for breakfast or dinner (and paying for it yourself). But it's always nice to have someone tell you how great you are. It's like dealing with a lot of car salesman all the time.

  13. Did you find it difficult to maintain your grades while also committing a lot of time to your sport?

    The grades thing is an interesting one that I can definitively go more in-depth into. So #1, the expectations of a football player at one school isn't the same at others. The idea of players getting grades, or anything else...is on a broad continuum. But yes, school is more difficult being a student athlete. There would be days where I would have to do a paper while flying back on a plan at 1am. I remember that summer school always ran 1 week into summer camp. So my summer school final was always during the 1st week of hell week.So imagine taking a Statistics test while trying to ice and hydrate before the 2nd practice (yes..ice bags on knees in the classroom). I remember walking down to winter workouts at 4:45am on a Friday morning while regular students were coming back from their drunk Thursday night outing.

    But the most difficult thing to fight as an aspiring student athlete is the stigma. There's no doubt that a lot of guys wanted to slide by. Heck, there were a lot of students who were doing the same. There's no doubt that the normal curve of the test scores and GPA's were further to the left of the general population (though the team with the worse GPA was habitually several women's sports...but no one ever assumed that). But the most difficult thing about being doing well academically is that no one expects you to. Student figuratively and literally tells you that you're not here for the right reasons.

    I once had a girl refuse to be in a study group of mine because she said I would cheat off of her (still got a better grade than her in the class). My senior year of high-school I won the award for the top scholar athlete. Now don't confuse that with athlete of the year..that went to a Mcdonald's All-American who's in the NBA right now. I was tapped as the best combination of athletics and academics in a city with a top 10 population. I was very proud of that. But once I stepped on campus perception quickly became reality...throughout my whole time in my MBA program it took about a year and a half for anyone to ask me to be a part of their group project. But when it came to intramural sports or grabbing a beer, my MBA classmates were beating my doors down. Not once did anyone or anything in college signal that someone valued my intellect over my athletic ability. During my fist two year as an undergrad...I slacked...I did a lot of things out of character because I was literally trying to act like a football player. It took me a while to act like myself.

  14. The studying/playing schedule sounds rough! did they offer help with tutoring etc? Can't imagine doing a paper 1am on a plane after a game.. I think a lot of people underestimate how hard it is being a student athlete, especially in season / with lots of travel.

    They definitely offered tutors. But it's funny because I would hear regular students complain about how lucky we were to have tutors at our beckoning call. As if we were child actors who had tutors travel with us around the country lol. Far from it, our tutors were the students (mostly grad students) we went to school with that wanted to earn an extra buck. Plus, at my school there was a resource center that had tutors available all the time for everyone. You just had to schedule it. Heck I used the regular tutors during my MBA way more than I used the tutors in the athletic department during my playing days. The reason you hear players bitch and moan about showing up for their tutors is because they're obligated. It's one thing to use it as a resource, it's another for a coach to say that you have to get 2 hours in for spanish every monday and wednesday or you could wake up for some punishment at 5:30am. If I gave you ice cream every monday and wednesday you would get sick of it too.

See part two here (available April 30th)

Comments (14)

Apr 25, 2013

This is incredible. Good stuff

Apr 25, 2013

which D1 school?

G

Apr 25, 2013
gvc1992:

which D1 school?

If I gave up the school it would be pretty easy to figure out who I am I think lol.

Apr 25, 2013

"I played football in college. I'd like to think I was fairly successful. I wasn't a household name on a national scale. But I was a 3 year starter, team captain (I had to be someones favorite player right lol). We went to the conference championship games a couple times in my tenure. Played at a BCS school. Think UCLA and UVA type football and academics. I don't think I would have been drafted but I'm pretty certain that I would have been in an NFL camp. Went through the whole wining and dining process with the agents and work out facilities. Unfortunately during my senior year I injured my neck for the second time. During my sophomore year I injured my neck for the first time. Had reconstructive surgery on my spine. Had a metal plate put in. Came back the next three years and started. Unfortunately my spinal canal began to narrow once again, I hit a guy and my body went numb. I was carted off the field sobbing...rushed to the hospital... knowing that my football career was over."

First- awesome interview. Side note - I had narrowing in C5-C6 from playing FB ages 12-22, used to get big time stingers, there is something about that burning sensation shooting down your arm that can't be described - I feel your pain dude.

Apr 25, 2013

Very interesting, thanks for doing this.

I was hoping you could give more insight into your statement, "working mostly in customer impact and channel strategy and product innovation within financial services." Do your assignments tend to be more qualitative? Are there any IT-related assignments? Any additional context would be great.

Apr 25, 2013
Poff:

Very interesting, thanks for doing this.

I was hoping you could give more insight into your statement, "working mostly in customer impact and channel strategy and product innovation within financial services." Do your assignments tend to be more qualitative? Are there any IT-related assignments? Any additional context would be great.

I have worked on some IT stuff in the past. Not a big fan of IT, but definitely learned a lot. It was like speaking another language. Customer Impact, channel stragey, and product innovation are much more qualitative. Most of my work boils down to..America is getting older...they need new products...Everything is done online...you need new products...This is what the comp is doing..you need new products

There's a lot more inbetween...but that seems to be the reoccuring theme lol.

Apr 26, 2013

Great interview, thanks for sharing man. I was a successful D1 pitcher for a UCLA/Rice type school and shared very similar experiences as you from the group work, to on field success and injury, balancing the sport and school, athlete stigma etc. I remember coming late from practice to a financial derivatives final and taking it with an ice bag on my shoulder and elbow that was leaking everywhere and soaking my shirt. I looked like an absolute mess, but scored really well on the final.
Can you share how grad school or job interviews viewed you being an accomplished athlete?

"The plaque for the alternates is down in the ladies room."

Best Response
Apr 26, 2013
TopFun:

Great interview, thanks for sharing man. I was a successful D1 pitcher for a UCLA/Rice type school and shared very similar experiences as you from the group work, to on field success and injury, balancing the sport and school, athlete stigma etc. I remember coming late from practice to a financial derivatives final and taking it with an ice bag on my shoulder and elbow that was leaking everywhere and soaking my shirt. I looked like an absolute mess, but scored really well on the final.
Can you share how grad school or job interviews viewed you being an accomplished athlete?

Yeh sure.I actually have a second response that is going to be posted on tuesday where I talk about that a little, but I have no problem getting into it a little early.

I would say that it's a very delicate weapon. People have their stereotypes of an athlete. Some are positive and some aren't. It took me a long time to learn how to craft an elevator speech that held on to those positive stereo types while also dispelling the negative ones.

Otherwise everyone at work will introduce me as the guy who played football for XXXX

So..the first thing I learned is that I never need to be the first person in the conversation to bring it up. I know people already know..and if they don't it's even better because it's a nice "ace" to have in the pocket.

I let it come up casually in the conversation...but when it does I always got a few stories for them. But I don't give them the stories they know. I give them a few from the locker room or the dorm room.

What I've found is that it's a great currency, especially in situation where I'm dealing with people who already have access to anything I could offer them. The expereinces that I have are things that they can't recreate. I've found that powerful people will do a lot for you in exchange for a good conversation.

In interviews...I have t tailor it real well. Some people think that I was out there kicking rocks or something.

My one liner coming out of school was this..

For the last 5 years I've worked under a Manager who makes several million a year in a billion dollar industry. As you knw..where ever there is a million$...there's a million$ worth of pressure.

Or

These kids took a test once a semester in a class room of 30. I took my test every saturday infront of 75K

They usually sympathized with that lol

Apr 26, 2013
thatguy12345:

These kids took a test once a semester in a class room of 30. I took my test every saturday infront of 75K

Awesome. *slow clap*

Apr 26, 2013
thatguy12345:

I've found that powerful people will do a lot for you in exchange for a good conversation.

Couldn't agree with this more

Apr 28, 2013

Your last tackle should have been the girl who refused to be in a study group with you. Nice catch Blanco Nino but too bad your ass got saaaaaaaaaaacked.

Apr 28, 2013

Thank you for doing this interview!! I'm very happy to hear a story about an athlete on here! This really puts into perspective the amount of hard work that goes into being a student athlete.

"To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier than most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks."
--Benjamin Graham

B.K.

Apr 30, 2013
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