About His Business
When Rodney Hudson officially decided to pursue his master’s degree, Barack Obama was finishing up his first term as president, LeBron James had just won his first NBA title with the Miami Heat and Hudson himself was playing for the Kansas City Chiefs – a team that the current Las Vegas Raiders offensive lineman now considers a detested division rival.
At times, Hudson admits that the seven-year journey to earning his MBA felt even longer than it sounds. But when he heard his name called in May 2019 among the graduates from Nova Southeastern University, all of his hard work took on a whole new meaning.
“The last thing you want to do after a grueling football season is go to school,” Hudson said. “At the end of the day though, it was gratifying to be able to start something that I didn’t necessarily need to do and see it through to the finish.”
The Raiders player rep took a moment to reflect on his experience and the lessons learned through the NFLPA’s Continuing Education program.
The last thing you want to do after a grueling football season is go to school... at the end of the day though, it was gratifying to be able to start something that I didn’t necessarily need to do and see it through to the finish."
What made you want to get your master’s degree?
I knew coming into the league that I wanted to continue my education in some sort of way; I just didn’t know when or what that would look like. Then in 2012 during my second year, I got injured and went on [injured reserve]. I felt like that was the perfect time to get started. My thinking was, I’m always trying to get better at something and this degree would help me further down the road. So I signed up for classes that following January.
Why did you choose to study business?
I felt like if I ended football well and made enough money, I could do something in the line of business. It’s a good degree to have. So while I was in Kansas City rehabbing, I started doing the school totally online.
How did you manage your time between football and school?
I only took classes during the offseason. It conflicted some with my football schedule twice when we were in the playoffs because classes started in January. But for the most part, it wasn’t that hard to manage around OTAs and what not. Classes were about four hours a day. Even though it took me a little longer to finish that way, it was beneficial to take classes during the offseason.
After getting your undergraduate degree at Florida State in the classroom, what was it like doing all online classes?
It was an adjustment. You take for granted being in the classroom setting. We had group projects and lectures, but online is basically you teaching yourself. It challenged me to personally dig deeper as far as watching YouTube videos about what I was studying. It’s a challenge that brought a lot out of me.
What did it bring out of you?
Just the mindset I had to have to stay focused and get the most out of the program. It feels good sometimes to be done because now, I can wake up and just read a book without thinking about schoolwork. But it also feels good to have taken on this challenge and finished.
It also taught me to always think deeper. Now, no matter what it is – it could be buying a new printer for my home – I think about, can I get better deal or am I doing this right? Anything I do, financially or not, I have a strategic mindset.
It’s a win-win. The tuition reimbursement part is big, of course. And the good thing is, there’s no rush to finish. That’s what I kept telling myself whenever I got frustrated."
What lessons or classes did you take from the program?
I learned a lot. In my last class, I had to run a shoe company from top to bottom, from the marketing to the private label selling; everything except actually selling the shoe. I learned how to run the company, and it gave me an overall grasp of what it takes with marketing, distribution, having enough supply in the warehouse, things like that. It was really insightful.
Why should players seriously consider using the Continuing Education benefit to get their degrees?
It’s a win-win. The tuition reimbursement part is big, of course. And the good thing is, there’s no rush to finish. That’s what I kept telling myself whenever I got frustrated. It’s OK to do one class one semester and two the next. It’s free, so you move at your own pace. If I needed tutoring help, there are resources available, too.
The program is definitely beneficial. Really take time to think about what you want to do after football and what you’re passionate about. The program is set up to provide all the support and resources you need to graduate.