What do basketball stars Dwayne Wade, Mason Plumlee, and Jerry Stackhouse have in common? All three have attended an elite, intensive business program at Harvard Business School, where they studied graduate-level business theory that could very well have an impact on their athletic careers.
HBS, known for its high profile alums, such as J.C. Flowers & Co.’s Thierry Porté and Sanrio’s Rehito Hatoyama, offers a series of shorter businesses courses that allow students to dive into specialized topics. One of these is The Business of Entertainment, Media, and Sports, which lasts only a few days but covers a series of cases involving entertainment, digital technology, and how creative projects are marketed. Professor Anita Elberse, who also serves as chair of MBA Required Curriculum, takes students through case studies involving big names like Beyonce, Jay Z, and LeBron James to get them thinking about media strategies used in entertainment and sports.
It was a good fit for Wade in particular, as he is about to face a choice between remaining under contract with the Miami Heat or becoming a free agent in a few weeks.
However, Wade says his decision to apply for the course comes from a genuine desire to learn the theory, not just a quick collection of tips. With a tuition fee of about $8,000 and a focus on recruiting senior executives for students, Wade and his fellow athletes had to put in just as much studying as anyone else—which, for Wade, was the whole point. “For me, it’s about what’s next,” he says. “I had people say, ‘Wow, what are you doing here?’ They didn’t know what excites me, how I am, how I thirst for knowledge. So for me, it’s about taking what we learned here and see[ing] how it fits into what’s next.”
Despite having to stay up until 2 AM studying, Wade and his fellow classmates appear to have gotten a lot out of the course, which they will hopefully put to good use in the future.