A League of Their Own

Content appeared in Stanford Business magazine in March 1994.

Let it be said once and for all: There is no truth to the rumor that Stanford GSB engages in athletic recruiting. Not even (as certain competing schools would have it) to win next month’s Challenge for Charity sports contests for a second straight year. Nevertheless, eight first-year MBA students bring special strength to this year’s Stanford team. They include three Olympians (one is a gold medal winner), pros in tennis, football, and basketball and even an international competitor in ultimate Frisbee. Challengers, beware!

Volker Schmidt was a member of Germany’s national ultimate Frisbee team for six years, captain for one. Given the nature of the flying disk, it is only natural that the engineering graduate is also an ace juggler. Schmidt graduated in the top 2 percent of his class at the University of Karlsruhe and worked as a consultant for several firms in Germany.

The two Marks, Mark Mance and Mark Leschly, hit the pro tennis circuit after college. Both are cum laude college graduates. Mance captained Duke’s tennis team and Leschly Harvard’s. A native of Denmark, Leschly was selected to the Danish Davis Cup team and was captain of the U.S. Prentice Cup team. After leaving pro tennis, Mance was a financial analyst for Morgan Stanley’s real estate department and Leschly an analyst for McKinsey.

Eric Reveno came back home to Stanford after spending four years in Japan working as a crude oil market analyst and playing center on the firm’s industrial league basketball team. Reveno is remembered in Palo Alto as co-captain of Stanford’s varsity basketball team for three years and the player twice voted most inspirational. Olympic gold medallist Brent Lang swept the Pacific Rim for the U. S. national swim team. Besides taking the Olympic gold in the 4x100 freestyle relay in Seoul, Korea’s Lang won the gold at the world championships in Perth, Australia, and took three gold medals at the Pan-Pacific Championships in Tokyo. Meanwhile, he was a top engineering student at the University of Michigan, captain of its men’s swim team, and four-time NCAA freestyle champion. Most recently, he was a strategy consultant for the Monitor Company.

Juliet Thompson also represented the United States in the 1988 Seoul Olympics; she was a member of the U.S. rowing team. Thompson returned to Harvard to lead the Radcliffe crew to a national championship in 1989 and was named Harvard’s leading female athlete that year. After graduation, she went to South Africa to teach physical education to primary school students. There, she founded SCORE, a nonprofit organization to recruit and train volunteers to coach sports and run athletic programs in that country’s black townships.

Lane MacDonald is the third Olympian in the first-year MBA class. In Calgary, Canada, MacDonald led the 1988 U.S. Olympic ice hockey team in goals scored. A two-time All-American, he was captain of Harvard’s first NCAA champion hockey team and won the 1989 Hobey Baker Award, given to the best player in college hockey. MacDonald played one year of pro hockey for Club Lugano in Switzerland, coached at Harvard, founded a hockey school, and worked as financial analyst for Robertson, Stephens.

Eric Bergeson, a starting cornerback and free safety for Brigham Young University’s football team, took a year off from school to work as a volunteer missionary for the Church of Latter Day Saints in Hong Kong and China, where he became fluent in Cantonese. After college, Bergeson turned pro, playing free safety and nickel defensive back for the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Oilers, and New England Patriots. Recurring injuries — and acceptance to Stanford GSB — persuaded him to retire from professional football.

In April (1994), all eight scholar-athletes will come out of retirement for a good cause — the 11th annual Challenge for Charity, benefiting Special Olympics. Last year, Stanford and five rival West Coast business schools raised more than $200,000 for the charity.