Before Ben Collins was an Olympian triathlete or an MBA graduate, he started his career in engineering with a startup company. He dedicated his free time to his personal interest—triathlons, “I had some early success, and won the 2007 Amateur World Championships before deciding to become a full-time professional and pursue the Olympics,” said Collins.

Excel in your interests

“At first, triathlons were just a social outlet. I loved competing, and in school I felt like being active made me academically,” said Collins, looking back on why he got involved in the sport. He emphasizes the importance of connecting skills across everything you do.

“‘I'm surprised how much of my experience in triathlon carries over into business.’”

The next step

Collins first learned entrepreneurial selling, marketing and branding skills as he represented himself and sought out sponsorships. Although he had won the Amateur World Championships, he quickly learned that, “turning pro in triathlon is not a glamorous lifestyle.”

But the entrepreneurial side, “was thrilling to me,” he said. “I loved it and I wanted to learn to be a better entrepreneur.” That’s when Collins chose to get his MBA.

“I'm surprised how much of my experience in triathlon carries over into business. The ability to set goals and plan a process to get there has been really beneficial.” Collins has continued exploring business opportunities and is starting a company, Ben’s Muffins, a pre-working muffin mix that he created to provide him with the energy and nutrients that he needed while training and in school.

The challenges

Building a support system is the “hardest part of any transition,” he said. He focuses on learning from his network and finding mentors.  “As an MBA grad, I'll be making another big transition, but after two other major career shifts, I'm doggedly optimistic about my future.”