Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Dennis Norman and safety Sammy Knight are two of 114 NFL players who have enrolled in the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program at the Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
The program is part of an ongoing NFL-NFLPA initiative to assist players in preparing for their post-playing careers. Last year, 116 NFL players participated at the four business schools and 112 took part in 2006. In the program's first season (2005), 66 players participated at Harvard Business School and the Wharton School.
The Jaguars had three players participate in the program in 2006 while Norman was one of three Jaguars to enroll in the first year of the program in 2005. This will be Norman's second stint at the Wharton School. Knight will be attending classes at the Harvard Business School.
The four schools will offer executive education activities in their respective areas of expertise (see complete descriptions below). The Wharton School and Harvard Business School will hold three-day programs for players starting February 24-27 and continue the coursework with an additional three-day session in late March and early April, respectively. Player enrollment criteria include level of education, professional business experience, interest in starting, owning, or managing a business, and leadership and community involvement
The Wharton program focuses on a broad range of business topics, including financial analysis, entrepreneurship, real estate development, stock market investing, negotiation skills, risk management, and community reinvestment. Attendees work on directed as well as individual real estate, entrepreneurial and personal finance projects during the month between the program's two sessions.
The program at Harvard emphasizes entrepreneurial opportunities and business management. Content includes financial analysis, marketing strategies, selected general business skills and legal, and contractual and tax considerations. Using the case method, participants learn how to work together to resolve problems similar to the ones they face in business. During the break between the two sessions, players develop a business plan that they discuss with HBS faculty members when they return to campus.