Marquette hoops life lessons eased Frozena’s transition to trader


March 25, 2013

By Chris Jenkins

Those 5:30 a.m. practices taught Marquette Business alumnus Rob Frozena about punctuality. Marquette coach Buzz Williams taught him accountability.

“At the end of a practice, maybe, everyone had to make a free throw,” Frozena says. “We’d be running forever and he’d say, ‘Now go hit two free throws.’ You’re being held accountable, not only for yourself but the rest of the team, and you were expected to do it — because in a game, that was how it was going to be.”

A walk-on who played a total of 85 minutes in four seasons and scored 21 career points, Frozena wasn’t a star. That didn’t stop him from becoming a cult hero to Golden Eagles fans.

Now working as a securities trader at Baraboo Growth, LLC, in the Milwaukee area, the 2011 finance graduate spoke to Marquette Business Update about the lessons he learned on the basketball court and how they apply to his life in the business world.

Q: Fans might not realize all the time and travel commitments that come with playing a college sport. What did that teach you about time management?
A:  “You would not be able to survive without being able to manage your time properly. And although we had a lot of resources at hand in terms of tutors, etc., you have to still manage your time. You’re going to class, say, from eight until three, maybe with a little break in between. Then you’re expected to practice from three to six. Then you have study hall from six to nine. You’ve got to get sleep then, and that doesn’t leave much space for anything else.”

Q: What did basketball teach you about the value of teamwork?
A: “Obviously you see teamwork on the floor, on the court. But behind the scenes, there’s always little things, say when a guy’s down or Buzz is pushing someone to the absolute max, it takes your teammates to pick you up and say, ‘Get through it, you can do it.’ I know when I was on the team, just a couple times, I would help tutor the guys in certain courses. That’s teamwork right there. I understood the course and the class, and I wanted to make sure they did, too. You’re working together to achieve your ultimate goal, and it’s the same way in the business world.”

Q: You were an accomplished high school player. When you got to Marquette, you weren’t in the spotlight. How did you handle that?
A: “It was completely fine by me. I knew what my role was from Day One when I walked in, I knew what my role was the day I walked out. I knew I was going to be in for an incredible journey and experience a lot of amazing things, travel to cities or witnessing games or events. However, I knew I was strictly there to be an amazing teammate for those guys. I never once was upset that I never played.”

Q: Did that teach you about how to work without worrying who gets the credit?
A: “Absolutely. When you go through your classes in school, especially on the business side, you’re always doing team projects because they’re trying to prepare you for the real world. I just kind of had, I guess you could say, a double course of lessons.”

Q: You went through a head coaching change at Marquette. Did that teach you how to handle circumstances outside your control?
A: “You just have to be willing to adapt. Because if you’re not willing, you’re never going to be successful, no matter who comes in or whatever change took place. But if you’re willing to put forth the effort and attention necessary, there’s no doubt you can get through any change that comes your way.”

Q: You’re still remembered as a fan favorite at Marquette. What did that teach you?
A: “It taught me appreciation. It’s absolutely amazing that the fans appreciated me as much as they did. It was never necessary. … I never asked to be embraced like that. However, I’m eternally grateful to every Marquette fan until the day I die. My four years, I’ll never forget. The experiences were like nothing else, and I can guarantee out of all the Division-I teams, no walk-on was appreciated and treated quite like I was.”