College jocks earn as much as $220,000 more than their less sporty peers over their career, study shows

 According to a recent study conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the notion that college athletes will not achieve much in life while nerdy outcasts will become successful CEOs may be a myth. The study, which analyzed the careers of Ivy League intercollegiate varsity athletes compared to their non-athletic peers, examined data from over 400,000 graduates from 44 different colleges between 1970 and 2021. It's essential to note that the research has not yet undergone peer review.

The findings of the study revealed that college athletes, both men and women, actually earned 3.4% more over their careers compared to their non-athletic counterparts. Additionally, they were estimated to bring in approximately $220,000 more in cumulative wages. The study also discovered that athletes were more likely to attain MBAs from prestigious institutions and pursue careers in finance or other business-related fields. Furthermore, athletes had a higher chance of advancing to top management positions, with 10.4% of athletes holding such roles compared to 7.9% of non-athletes.

Interestingly, the study demonstrated that the advantages experienced by athletes were not solely limited to those from higher socioeconomic backgrounds who played sports like lacrosse or squash. Athletes across various sports, including football, basketball, and track, outperformed their non-athletic peers in terms of career success.

The researchers attributed this phenomenon to the development of valuable soft skills during college athletics. College athletes were more likely to be endorsed for skills such as management, leadership, and strategic planning on platforms like LinkedIn.

Notably, several high-profile CEOs of major companies were former college athletes. Walter Robb, the former CEO of Whole Foods, led Stanford University's soccer team. Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan participated in football and rugby during his time at Brown University. Meg Whitman, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, competed in squash and lacrosse at Princeton University. Even Amazon's CEO, Andy Jassy, attributed his success in business to his passion for competitive tennis, highlighting how the sport taught him valuable lessons about diligence, meritocracy, and performance-based outcomes.

Overall, the NBER study challenges the stereotype that college athletes won't excel in their careers. It suggests that participating in sports during college can provide athletes with skills and experiences that translate into success in the corporate world.  

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