Alex Rodriguez may have become a household name as one of Major League Baseball's greatest players, but the former star Yankee makes it known that his off-the-field smarts are what he's banking on for long-term success.
"When I was a child, I had two dreams. One was to be a major-league baseball player. The other was to be a CEO," he tells Fortune.
After 22 seasons with the MLB, Rodriguez is putting more time and effort into his CEO dreams and growing his company, ARod Corporation, which includes investments in real estate, auto dealerships and fitness centers.
In 2014, the baseball superstar faced a year-long suspension for the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs, leaving many fans to wonder about the athlete's future. But Rodriguez used the setback as time to strategize not only his return to baseball but also his entry into new corners of the business world.
During his off-season, he took marketing courses at the University of Miami and value investing courses at Columbia University.
"I didn't grow up with a father, so for me mentorship was a big part of my development both in baseball and in business, and I really think that mentorship is one of the most important elements you can take as a young entrepreneur or as a young athlete," he said at eMerge Americas conference earlier this year.
"Knowledge is power. That's one of the reasons why I have attended business school at the University of Miami and business school at Columbia University in New York and now I'm taking classes at Stanford."
Statistics show the average MLB career spans just over five years, and around four percent of players earn a college degree. Rodriguez tells Fortune that he knew he had to figure out a way to get on the other side of those numbers.
"I kept seeing players get hurt and basically go from being in the penthouse to the outhouse very quickly," he said. "I realized that you can be in a good place on Monday, and by Thursday you can be out of luck with no formal education."
Rodriguez, who'll join the line-up of ABC's Shark Tank this fall, also relies on advice that applies to anyone who might be looking to start their own company: Take your time.
"My advice would be: Slow and steady wins the race," he said at .
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