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Luis Castillo - Planning Ahead

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Concudan, Apr 15, 2007.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Still Chargin Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 5, 2006

    Editor's Note: The NFLPA and NFL have partnered with the Harvard Business School, the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University), the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to provide business education to over 100 active and former NFL players during the offseason. The program is designed to assist players in preparing for their post-playing careers. This week in our third and final business school installment, we feature San Diego Chargers defensive end Luis Castillo, who earned an economics degree from Northwestern. Castillo gives an in-depth perspective of his four-day experience at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management, a program which focuses on high growth entrepreneurship.

    When was the last time you were in a classroom and how did it feel to be back in that setting? The last time I was in an academic classroom was during my senior year at Northwestern University which was in June of '05. So it's been an interesting experience to get back to using tools that I learned in college while earning my economics degree that I really haven't thought much about in the last few years. Now I'm starting to gain an understanding of what I want to do with my money and what the best ways of going about that are. It (the Kellogg program) has been a great experience.

    Why did you choose to attend the Kellogg program? Obviously the link to Northwestern was important to me. It's the first one I've done, but I hope to get a chance to attend all of the business school programs. But just to get a chance to come back to Northwestern knowing that while I spent my four years here, I always heard what a good business school Kellogg is and how it's probably the best in the country. To get a chance to meet some of the great minds and get to know people that have had success in the business world has been very interesting and a pleasing experience for me.

    Why did you initially choose Northwestern University for your undergraduate education? I had no idea football would work out for me and it was always a dream to have a good backup plan. And being able to go to a school like Northwestern, to get my economics degree and to graduate with a 3.5 GPA, was the best way to prepare myself to try and be set for life.

    How did the Kellogg School of Management program compare to your economics experience at Northwestern? It's really two different worlds. As tough as the economics classes were and as much classroom experience that I got, this Kellogg program seems so much more real world. Besides the NFL program, they don't take entrants into the Kellogg program unless they've been out in the business world working for five years, so most of the students here are over 30 years old. So it's a program that's highly practical and gives us a lot of real world knowledge which is what we need as players.

    How often do you get approached by people asking you to invest in business opportunities with them and how do you handle it? Honestly it's something that we get approached with at least three or four times a month. People will either send you e-mails or even catch you at a restaurant. Everybody always seems to have a great idea and some of it is coming from trustworthy people, but you need the knowledge of how to examine it so you're not relying just on your investment people to decide things for you. The biggest thing is people assume that since I'm a young guy, I don't have a lot of business experience and there is a lot of money there that they can get to easily. I get a lot of different offers and it's tough to judge who the good ones are coming from. It's tough to look at a project and really sit down with it even though I'm an economics major and analyze it to see if it's something beneficial or very risky. To get a chance to come here and let them help you sort it all out makes a huge difference.

    What are some of the major lessons you were able to take away from the Kellogg program? To get a chance to come here and get all of this knowledge from people who have had so much success in the business world is inspiring. We learned about branding, how the entrepreneurial business works, and got a good grasp on how to analyze it all. We need to make sure we take the information and apply it into our everyday lives.

    Your Chargers teammate and roommate back in San Diego, Shaun Phillips, also attended the Kellogg program with you. Did you influence him to go? Shaun is in an interesting position and he's a smart guy. He went to Purdue, graduated in business and we've had a chance to be together now for the last two years living together and the biggest thing for him is that he just got a new contract. It's something where he's at a point in his life where he's really made it, has a lot of money and is getting a ton of calls to do this or put into that. In our conversations living together we always talk about investments and portfolios, but for him to come to Kellogg and get a real understanding of it all, I see his eyes lighting up. I see that he's learning to examine these types of things by himself.

    Your mother is an entrepreneur and developed a multimillion-dollar company in New York that imports hair-care products from her Dominican Republic homeland. Does that inspire you to learn about possibly becoming an entrepreneur as well? Her goal was always for me to take over her business and she kind of raised me in that mold. It's funny because we talked about it in class about sons following in their parents' footsteps in business and it's kind of what her plan was for me. But football kind of got in the way of that a little bit.

    Have you thought about the type of business you want to get into when your football days are over? Honestly some of the best advice I got going into the league and I was only 21 years old when that happened, was that you don't need to start doing things right away. You can have a long future ahead of you and hopefully make more money in the league. Right now the way to maximize my earnings is to take care of my job in the NFL by becoming the best player that I can be. So at this point I've put some money into things that are relatively safe, haven't gotten too spread out, and I'm focused more on football. But attending a program like Kellogg is a great way to get prepared for my career after football.

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