Everywhere you look, college football and college basketball
news stories are filled with scandal and skullduggery. It's enough to
make one think there are no good guys left among the coaches, and no
"students," in the term "student-athlete."
Tim Abromaitis of Notre Dame is an exceptional exception. His team finished the season ranked #4 in the final poll, earned a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and
they return three senior starters next year. He was the team's second
best offensive weapon behind Big East Player of the Year Ben Hansbrough, and should have an even bigger role next year.
"I'm very excited, it's funny when you get into the postseason you
start thinking about next year's team and I thought about that a little
bit and we have a lot to work with," ND Coach Mike Brey said about 2011-12.
Brey took home both a conference and a national coach of the year award;
to complement Hansbrough's conference POY. And Abromaitis, who
graduated a year early with a degree in Finance and a 3.7 GPA, won his
second Big East
Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award. He's on the fast-track to complete
his MBA this May. So he'll have two degrees already completed before
getting back on the hardwood for his final season next fall.
I asked him how he does it all.
"I work hard at managing my time, and just taking advantage of any
free time that I have, being able to know how much I'm able to do,
without doing too much, little things like that, and being disciplined I
guess," Abro responded.
His MBA specialization is Corporate Finance.
"I think that's my desired career path at this point, but I still
have next year to play, and hopefully a couple years after that, and
we'll see what I get into," Abromaitis said.
"I've tried not to look too far ahead, and focus on basketball, but
it would probably be something with a big company in the finance
division. Something like that I'd be interested in. However it works
out, I'm sure I'll be okay."
Indeed he truly will; without or without basketball. Firsthand, I've
heard from scouts who believe he could be a tremendous overseas player,
and in midseason I read his name in the second rounds of NBA mock drafts. So if/when earns professional money from basketball, I'm sure he'll be good at managing it.
I asked him if he had any favorite economic theorists during a recent media session. (Yes, a reporter who also holds a MBA can sometimes be a dangerous thing)
"We get preached about Adam Smith pretty much all the time in
business school, so I guess I have to follow his stuff, but I wouldn't
say there's any favorite or anything like that," he said.
Smith's timeless classic "The Wealth of Nations" is considered the
bible of free market doctrine. He's often quoted as the founder of the
specific strain of capitalism that dominates over today's contemporary
landscape. Of course, if Smith were alive today, I think he'd reject the
manner in which his ideals and beliefs are being practiced and applied.
(Much like Karl Marx is rumored to have said on his death bed "I am not
a Marxist.") But that's another discussion for another time.
Abro told me about a specific organizational behavior class he enjoyed in South Bend.
"One class I particularly liked in undergrad was a behavioral finance
class. It's kind of like a mix of psychology and finance and economics
all thrown together, and it was a view of how people behave in finance
and some of their irrational behaviors."