MBA provides students opportunities for leadership on and off the field

by Rachel Dwornick

For some students, being a leader starts on the athletic field before it begins in the classroom. This is true even for five graduate students whose leadership journeys at BGSU are now complete as they prepare to graduate.

Three student-athletes in the MBA program – John Beggan, Logan Dietz and Ben Steward – played on BGSU’s football team.

John Beggan said that being on the football field taught him how to relate and adapt to others’ needs. “It goes back and forth with meeting new people from different backgrounds. You get to learn how to be a better leader and how to really help others adjust to the new chapter in their life through college football and education,” he said. After graduation, he said he will move back to Pittsburgh, where he hopes to work in the sales field.

On that same football field is where Logan Dietz said he learned patience, something that is key in business as well as sports. “Things are not always going to be perfect and you must realize everyone is doing their best,” he explained. “As a leader, you have to help them get there.” Being a leader on the field taught him the importance of consistency, leading across instead of leading down, and working with different types of people. Dietz recently moved back to Pittsburgh and said he plans to work in the financial management field.

Ben Steward is the third MBA graduate on BGSU’s football team, where he said he first learned perseverance, active listening and accountability. What’s done on the field affects what’s done off the field, he emphasized. “Being a leader can be as simple as in class stepping up, being active and showing it’s OK to volunteer or participate on and off the field,” he said. The leadership skills he learned on and off the field, Steward said, will allow him to continue with chiropractic school at New York Chiropractic College in Seneca Falls after graduation.

The softball field is where Briana Combs’ leadership skills started, in a setting that she said inspired her to lead others by her own actions. Sports provided her with the option to speak through actions rather than words, but as she progressed in the MBA program, she learned that vocal communication is a vital part of teamwork and leadership. Combs’ MBA experience forced her to step out of her comfort zone and challenge herself to see things from different perspectives. After graduation, Combs said she hopes to continue her education by attending law school.

To Garrett Mayleben, who played on BGSU’s basketball team, eadership includes cultivating the talent of many people who are trying to accomplish a common goal. “The rewarding part about that is working with people with different backgrounds; some you may or may not agree with, but you are still a team,” he explained. “Like sports, on a basketball team you all have different ‘jobs,’ such as a point guard or forward, and seeing all those talents mesh together to make a working machine is rewarding.” After graduation Mayleben will continue onto the University of Cincinnati Law School.

Beggan, Dietz, Steward, Combs and Mayleben all said they are grateful for the leadership skills they learned on and off the field. Through the MBA program they put these skills into practice, and they agreed that the MBA program taught them the importance of leadership in business, along with the skills to use these techniques efficiently and effectively.

BGSU Athletic Director, Bob Moosbrugger, summed it up by emphasizing how athletics relates to business studies. "The nationally recognized BGSU College of Business MBA program offers students the resources to compete and succeed in the business world," he explained. "Combining the MBA curriculum with lessons learned through sports like leadership, dealing with adversity, persistence and teamwork provides a foundation for lifelong success for our student-athletes."

BGSU’s student-athlete tradition continues this fall, when the MBA program welcomes at least five more student-athletes. Learn more about the MBA program.

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Left to right: Logan Dietz, Ben Steward and John Beggan combine athletics with academics.

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Briana Combs and Garrett Mayleben pause between classes at College of Business Administration.