"UMass QB Blake Frohnapfel Is Taking Care of Business," proclaimed an October 17 Boston Globe feature applauding his leadership of the high-octane Minuteman offense. On Saturday, the Isenberg MBA candidate passed for five touchdowns and 438 yards in a nail-biting 42-35 loss to the University of Toledo, widely regarded as the top team in the Mid-American Conference. With Frohnapfel calling signals, the team had put up 40 or more points three times over the previous four weeks. The outlier was on October 18 when the Minutemen beat Eastern Michigan 36 to 14 at home.
Frohnapfel, in fact, is also taking care of business at Isenberg, where he is a first-year full-time MBA/MS student. The MS side of the dual degree is in Sport Management. "My goal is to work in a front office or in player personnel," he remarks. In prospecting for a graduate program, he found that UMass and Isenberg met his three main criteria: it had a highly ranked MBA program, a nationally prominent sports management program (McCormack), and it needed a quarterback.
The Joy of Teams
"Teams and teamwork, of course, are important to me as an athlete," he emphasizes. "It's fantastic, then, that the MBA program places so much emphasis on them and that my classmates and I constantly learn from one another in small classes and groups." For Frohnapfel, the learning curve is accelerating, in part, due to the diverse professional experiences and backgrounds-professional and cultural-of those classmates. At age 22, he is the youngest among them. On average, they are 26 years old and have three to five years of full-time work experience under their belts.
But Frohnapfel brings his own assets to the MBA dance. The 6' 6" Stafford, Virginia native has a strong undergraduate foundation in economics and finance from Marshall University, where he was backup quarterback to 2012 Conference USA MVP Rakheem Cato. With characteristic modesty, Frohnapfel describes himself as "a team leader in a way" in a group dynamic that is both "highly emotional and results oriented."
At UMass Amherst, his football role entails lots of repetition and practice, but, in a program that is reinventing itself, it also demands that his team experiment-that it embrace change. That adaptability, he says, begins with Coach Whipple, "who actively asks for my input. I'd never had a coach who involved me like that."
Besides digesting the Whipple playbook, Frohnapfel is taking courses in statistics, corporate finance, accounting, business intelligence/analytics, and management consulting. For the latter, he is teaming up with two other students on behalf of a real-world client. "At Marshall, there were team activities in the classroom, but not with this degree of involvement," he observes.
Two months into the semester at UMass and Isenberg, Frohnapfel has no doubt gained a new appreciation for time management. But above all, he's gained new insights into the power of teams and teamwork. They are critical vehicles, he emphasizes, in bringing about improvement that is positive; improvement that is continuous.