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Mulcahy eases tennis job search with team program

Life After Tennis program gives student-athletes insight for post-graduate career

Photo+by+Ben+Erickson%2Fbenjamin.a.erickson%40marquette.edu
Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

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This story is the second part of a three-part series featuring Marquette alumnus and tennis benefactor Charles “Chas” Mulcahy. Read the first and third parts here.

In 2008 Charles “Chas” Mulcahy received a phone call from a distressed Marquette senior on the tennis team who was set to graduate in just 60 days, but was without a job.

The student athlete went on to tell Mulcahy that he had had three great interviews that he thought would lead to three job offers, but none of them landed.

“I knew right then and there that was the problem,” Mulcahy said. “People misperceive what the reality of the situation is.”

After helping this senior land a job, Mulcahy began to talk with other tennis players about what they were doing to prepare for their future. He felt that there was a void in the way members of the tennis team were preparing themselves for their post-college careers.

Mulcahy’s legacy: Long career includes government office and Belgian knighthood 

“I think when you come to (Marquette) you are very focused on the tennis aspect, but you aren’t thinking about the future and all the experience you need to get before getting into the work force,” said Ana Pimienta, a former Marquette tennis player who graduated last year and now works for Deloitte, a Milwaukee-based consulting services company.

Mulcahy decided he wanted to start a business that would allow student-athletes to gain real world experience. Under NCAA rules, he couldn’t actually start a business, but a completely student-run group would be legal. Thus, the Life After Tennis Consulting Group was formed.

As Mulcahy organized the group, he asked his friend Rick Armbrust, a partner in an equity firm who played tennis at Valparaiso, to help as another mentor.

The group is comprised of members of both tennis teams and takes on various projects that the consultants will work on throughout the semester. In addition to the projects, members can seek supplementary help for things like networking, resume writing and interviewing with Mulcahy and Armbrust.

“The Life After Tennis Consulting Group was created as an extension of Marquette’s Jesuit holistic education, which not only teaches students life values and the ability to think and reason, but also provides them with skills as they enter the workplace,” Mulcahy said.

Since its debut in 2013, LATCG has been a uniquely helpful resource that members of both tennis teams have used to gain real world experience and serve as reminder to keep their futures in mind.

“I didn’t have a full idea of what I wanted to do coming into college,” said senior Erin Gebes, who has a job lined up with PricewaterhouseCoopers in May for after graduation. “With the guidance of (LATCG) I found what I was interested in and what my strengths were.”

Junior Nick Dykema, who will intern with BNP Paribas, a French multinational bank, this summer, said, “(LATCG) does a good job of making sure you do a good job of focusing on your future so you can put yourself in the best position after college.”

LATCG’s first project was to help St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield devise a strategic plan on what to do with their tennis courts. More recently the group worked with the town of Brown Deer to help develop a summer tennis program for youth.

Through these projects, the student-athletes take what they have learned from athletics and apply that expertise to work.

“You take skills that an athlete has, and you try and translate them into skills that they can apply to anything in life that they choose to apply them to,” Armbrust said. “I think the biggest challenge is getting these young men and women to understand that they aren’t really good at tennis – they are good at practice, making and absorbing criticism, goal setting, hard work and time management. If they decide to apply those same attributes to anything else in life, they will be equally as good.”

The group has found success by planning meetings around tennis players’ hectic schedules, the dedicated work of the mentors and the members who have bought into what is being taught.

“It is what you make of it,” said junior Kristiyan Trukov, who will intern at Robert W. Baird & Co. this summer. “There are people who go through the program that don’t do a single thing, and they don’t get anything out of it.”

This semester the group is working on a project to make a network of Marquette tennis alumni that current players can contact.

Ali Dawson, who graduated from Marquette in December and will attend graduate school at Notre Dame in the fall, said the group is a personal investment.

“It takes a little more time and effort in the front end, but the payout that you are going to get is well worth it,” Dawson said.

As the LATCG continues to grow, Mulcahy presented a report on the program to Marquette Athletic Director Bill Scholl to look into the possibility of expanding similar programs to other Marquette teams in order to help more athletes focus on their futures.

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