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Taking Business Center Circle

April 4, 2024 Erica Hulse
Action shot of Online MBA student Liz Dixon attempting a layup during a basketball game.

Wherever basketball may take her, Online MBA (OMBA) student Liz Dixon has the athletic and academic skills to dribble her way around the challenges of completing a rigorous master’s program while living the life of a professional athlete in Italy. Having earned her bachelor’s degree in business while playing as a forward for the women’s basketball team at the University of Louisville from 2018-2023, Dixon knew she wanted to continue her educational journey by earning her MBA at the College of Business. However, having been recruited by the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) to participate in a training camp and play briefly for the Phoenix Mercury, Dixon recognized that whether training or playing professionally in the U.S. or abroad, her already hectic schedule would require a flexible graduate program if she were to succeed as an athlete and student. “[I said,] ‘There’s no way I’m going to be able to do this in person just because of how crazy my life is.’ So, when I did more research and saw that there was an online option, I knew that was the best thing for me, and it’s definitely been a great experience so far.”

Promising Pivot

Dixon wasn’t always passionate about basketball; however, she recognizes that the sport has allowed her to travel internationally and play alongside some of the world’s most talented female basketball players. “My story is different from a lot of other athletes because I never had that. ‘Oh, I touched the basketball at three years old and fell in love with it immediately.’ That was never my story. All my life, I was told, ‘Hey, you’re tall. You should play [basketball].’ Then I fell more in love with the game as I got better, as I was seeing results.”

Over time, her joy for basketball grew with her realization that the sport was also a way for her to do something of great importance to her and her parents: attend college and earn her undergraduate degree. “My parents are very big on education,” she shared. “They’re from Nigeria. Playing basketball was a way to go to school because school is very expensive.” Upon enrolling, her parents encouraged her to consider a medical career, yet Dixon instead felt drawn to the business world. One day, when she went to work with her mother, a nurse, she met a co-worker whose background helped her realize the academic path she wished to pursue. “He had a business degree with a medical background. So, I thought about that, and then I did an internship on campus with UofL Health, which does a lot of great work with our student athletes.” 

Full Court Support

From the experience of working with her student team members to exploring her Cardinal Choice assignment, Dixon noted some of the most impactful moments she has encountered in her OMBA program. She also shared how other cohort members, faculty, and staff have worked to assist her despite unusually challenging circumstances, such as significant differences in time zones. “They have been super-duper flexible with me,” she shared, reflecting on her student team. “A lot of the time, our meetings would be at 7 p.m. for them, but it’s 1 a.m. for me. Whenever I need additional time or even more assistance, they are always there. I really like my group.”

While there are many benefits to the online learning platform provided for OMBA students, Dixon also shared some of the most significant challenges. “I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, it’s online – it’s so much easier.’ No, it’s not. You still have to do the work. You still have to do most of the learning yourself because you’re not going to a class. This is not an easier journey, but…it’s definitely worth it.”

While still in Europe, Dixon plans to return to the States later this spring to attend a WNBA training camp in Minnesota. During that time, she will continue to work toward completing her MBA, with plans to graduate in the spring of 2025 and build a career around business and healthcare. She noted, “I’ll still be taking classes while I’m there, so I’m not going to be missing anything.”

Are you considering a career in the field of healthcare management? Our online Graduate Certificate in the Business of Healthcare is designed for business professionals and practicing clinicians to gain the business skills and healthcare experience necessary to take on leadership roles within healthcare systems, private practices, and more.

About the UofL College of Business:

Founded in 1953, the UofL College of Business fosters intellectual and economic vitality in our city, region, and the global business landscape. Our academic programs, research, community outreach initiatives, and commitment to student success inspire lives and businesses to flourish through entrepreneurship, innovation, critical thinking, diversity, and the power of people.

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