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July 11, 2017

Master of Business Administration graduate launches sports and fitness enterprise

South University Newsroom

After years of working for others in positions that included marketing education and recruitment, Matt Hazzard is now calling the shots as the owner of his own business.

The South University, Novi Master of Business Administration graduate fulfilled his dream of being a small business owner when he launched Athletika Sports and Fitness in January of 2017.

“During my MBA training program, I actually wrote the business plan that I used to obtain the additional funding in the form of a small business loan – along with my own personal investment – to supply the start-up capital to launch Athletika Sports and Fitness, LLC,” he explains. “During the last few months of employment at my last job … I was working a full-time schedule and coming home to work on my business, including tirelessly running numbers, generating pro forma statements, and waiting for my opportunity to quit my job and run my business full time.”

Hazzard says he now spends his days monitoring all aspects of his business while working on its web site, marketing, and networking with potential customers. Hazzard credits the MBA program at South University with preparing him for the challenges – and rewards – of becoming a business owner.

“In multiple classes, my instructors supplemented classroom lectures and training with guest lecturers from local businesses for question and answer sessions. [We were given] projects inspired by field trips to businesses where we were asked to assess, critique, plan, and provide a program for improvement – not only graded by our professor – but included a review and feedback meeting with the actual decision makers from the company.”

“These types of real-world experiences and activities made for a very functional and realistic feel that translated into an experience that made me feel the information I was learning in the classroom could be immediately used in my day-to-day work environment,” he recalls.

And, Hazzard says his degree has made a difference in his life. “Completing my MBA gave my resume instant credibility,” he says. “I would never have been able to make any more progress in starting and owning my own business than I had without my MBA. “My MBA degree was the accomplishment and basis for investors and banks to take me seriously, but that education also gave me the confidence and personal motivation to believe in myself and take all of this training and commit to my lifelong dream of owning a sports and fitness facility.”

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