The new wave of STAR EMBA students has arrived on campus, and they started classes last Friday. I have written about this program in previous posts. This is an Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) at the George Washington University School of Business for Special Talent, Access and Responsibility (STAR) students, targeted to athletes, celebrities, and others. In addition to active and retired football players, the current class includes PGA golfers, Olympians, a TV personality, a music mogul manager, and a filmmaker. It is impossible not to spot them in the hallways of the business school, not only because on the first days they are wearing business suits and moving in groups, but also because of their “size,” in particular the football players.
As the School mentioned in the description of the program, “we continue to strive toward our mission of creating a powerful, informed and educated group of athletes and entertainers who are starting businesses, building media platforms, and getting recognized as national change makers and philanthropists.” It is exciting to have such a group of students, and I look forward to teaching them next week.
There are a few characteristics of this program and these students that are especially noteworthy. First, most of these individuals are very active in the community; they are involved in charitable organizations or have or plan to start their own foundations. The majority of these foundations are devoted to helping underprivileged children. Second, the program is open to spouses, as well. As with the first wave of students, in the second wave we have three spouses participating in the program. Finally, women are a growing group in this program. Let’s not forget, there are a lot of STAR women!
A group of faculty had dinner with this class last Friday both to welcome them to campus and to have them meet with Washington, DC-based students from the previous class. It was good to witness their enthusiasm for the program, passion for their work and activities, and curiosity to meet the other students. We had a guest speaker for dinner—an entrepreneur who spoke about his new firm, from how the idea originated to what it took to create and launch it. He spoke for a long time (and since dinner was not served until he finished, for me it felt very long), and so many hands went up after his talk that he kept answering questions for another hour (yep, and the dinner was delayed even further). I sat between two football players, one of whom was from the New York Giants. Of course we talked about the Super Bowl game but I refrained from asking him about the last five minutes of the game. Now that I know a lot more about football, I can have some good conversations with this group of students, and it is a lot of fun. Naturally, they are very conscious about their healthy eating. Since no one ate their bread, I could stuff myself with my and their bread while waiting for dinner to be served. The dinner—when it finally arrived—was very good, but the company was even better.