The Definitive Guide to Business

This NFL star turned Wharton MBA grad landed a big job at Goldman Sachs — here's his No. 1 key for success

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Justin Tuck attends the 2017 Garden of Laughs at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2017 in New York City. 
Andrew Toth
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 28: Justin Tuck attends the 2017 Garden of Laughs at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 2017 in New York City. 

Justin Tuck is famous for his success on the football field. As a defensive end for the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders, he played in two Superbowls and reportedly brought in $40 million over his 11-year NFL career.

But since retiring in 2016, Tuck has been making a name for himself in another highly competitive industry — finance.

In May, Tuck graduated from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, ranked by Forbes as the No. 1 business school in the country, with a Master of Business Administration in management.

In July, he will begin a career at Goldman Sachs as a vice president in the private wealth management division. (The prestigious investment bank is known to be highly selective — it hired only 3 percent of over 300,000 applicants in 2015.)

Speaking on a panel at Wharton's Global Forum in New York City recently, Tuck attributed his achievements in both football and business to one habit: preparation.

"My success in that Super Bowl was just being prepared," Tuck says.

"I mean, you're foolish if you go into that game and you haven't done all of your film work, all of your practice, ate the right things and so on."

"My successes at Wharton came when I was prepared," says Tuck.

"Not being prepared for an economics test — you normally don't do well on that," he says with a laugh. "And I have some examples for you guys."

And Tuck believes his future success at Goldman Sachs will come from preparation.

That's because preparation helps alleviate some of the pressure — something Tuck learned on the field. Playing in the Super Bowl, "The people that could go out on that field and play it just like it was any other game are the ones that go out and do well," he explains.

So now that the stakes are higher than ever, Tuck plans to be prepared.

At the NFL level, "not being prepared means Tom Brady throws 400 yards against you," he says, referencing the Patriots quarterback. "Not being prepared at a place like Goldman Sachs means that some of your trusted clients are losing money."

Tuck takes that seriously. After growing up in a rural community in small town in Alabama, he says he feels a responsibility to make the most of every opportunity.

"No one expected Justin Tuck from Kellyton, Alabama to go to Notre Dame, set records. Go to the NFL, set records. Translate from that and go to Wharton? Now Goldman?" Tuck asks.

"With all that is a tremendous responsibility that I put on myself to make sure that I am getting myself ready."

Tuck is also looking forward to learning new lessons in the finance big leagues.

"At places like Goldman ... they have brilliant people there," he says. "All I need to do is step in the door and be willing to listen, be willing to embrace the culture, be willing to accept the challenge. And I'm definitely that."

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