Drake Reid is making plays on the field and in the classroom
Drake Reid is not your average M.B.A. student-athlete. He came to the Ilitch School in 2019 and raced through his undergraduate degree in only three years while playing for the WSU football team. After completing his undergraduate degree, he used his redshirt status to dive right into his M.B.A.
“Football had a pretty big sway in my decision to come to Wayne State, I really liked the coaching staff and the players,” says Reid. “I heard so many great things about the business school and I knew coming into college that business was something I wanted to study. Going to such an esteemed business school in the heart of Detroit was an incredible opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Reid discovered his love of business when attending Rochester High School and participating in a class project where he created a business at his school.
“I’ve always been good with numbers throughout high school, so I knew I wanted to study something in that area,” says Reid. “In high school, we had a class where we worked alongside the school’s faculty and managed the concessions and merchandise sales for the school. I became really interested in the financial side of things when I was able to see the background of running a business, and I fell in love with it.”
Despite the rigors of football and accelerating his finance degree, Reid was able to find time to intern for two summers at Hantz Group, a financial planning firm, which he found out about through a Career Planning and Placement Industry Day, igniting a passion for wealth management and financial planning.
His success was not without its share of struggles, as Reid will readily share.
“There’s a lot of pressure, academically, mentally, it’s a lot to handle,” Reid explains. “As a freshman and a younger student athlete you have a lot of study hall hours, access to tutors and learning specialists that help you prepare.”
These resources like tutors and study halls available are a key aspect of the athletic department’s student success initiatives, says Deputy Athletics Director Candice Turner.
“Our support services were never cookie cutter,” explains Turner. “My approach to educational support was to make sure that students had not only the support that I knew was necessary for the scope of a college environment, but the type of support that will help them be more self-reliant.”
This support goes beyond tutors, career readiness and networking events. Turner says they view student success from a wholistic standpoint, that considers the person’s personal journey and path.
“You could get a job, you can have a career, or you can have a calling,” explains Turner. “The only way to get to that calling place is to surround yourself with people who sharpen you...figure out how to surround yourself with people to make yourself better.”
To this end, Turner stresses developing a positive culture in athletics and among teammates. In her role, she encourages student athletes to work together on and off the field and has established practices around this to facilitate this kind of support.
“We have students who excelled and had professional aspirations to go into academia and be teachers,” explains Turner. “We started our own supplemental instruction where student athletes would lead study groups for particular courses and do tutoring and work together through different problems and address the unique needs of each particular course.”
The support of his teammates certainly made a difference for Reid, when school and sports got tough.
“The fact that I was doing it with my teammates and other people in the same situation I was in was key to helping me get through it and be a productive student,” says Reid. “Everyone is here to help you, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, even if you feel like you’re a good student coming in. There’s going to be times where you hit a wall and then you’re going to need some type of assistance.”
With only one full semester remaining, Reid will soon graduate and begin his career. He already has a strong plan of action for what he wants his future to look like.
“My goal is to eventually have my own firm where I can provide wealth management services that are tailored to athletes, helping athletes set themselves up for a healthy financial future,” explains Reid.
Reflecting on his career as a student athlete and his future career in finance, Reid gave credit to many parties for helping him get to where he is today, but none were as influential as the team he played with.
“It’s a difficult life, but it’s complete, incredibly rewarding and fun,” says Reid. “When you have a great support system around you it becomes less difficult. I have so many teammates, so many guys who have gone through this journey with me, and we support each other every step of the way.”
-Patrick Bernas, Information Officer III