the field of play
Instant replay allows us to see the rapid decision making that goes into each play of a football game at a rate where all elements of the play become clear. For Jamauri Bogan, starting running back and junior in the college of business, the ability to logically assess a situation as if it were in slow motion comes naturally.
Both in football and in his major, personal financial planning, Bogan employs a disciplined and analytical approach to his work. And he combines his analytical skill with equal parts empathy and talent, which has him rushing towards success in the classroom and on the field.
Attracted to his major initially because of family history, Bogan’s career choice is tied to his grandfather. “My grandpa earned a good living throughout his life, but as he got older, he did not have as much saved for retirement as he should have to maintain his standard of living. I realized that I wanted to be educated about investments and financial planning for two reasons. First, I wanted to have the skills to be able to make well-informed choices regarding my own earnings. Second, I wanted to be able to help people make decisions about their finances that would help them reach their life goals.”
Bogan plans to be a financial advisor in an urban setting. “Often, people who live in urban areas don’t have the access to financial planners that others do,” he notes. “I want to be able to take the knowledge that I gain here at WMU and use it to transform people’s lives through access to quality financial planning services. Helping clients get closer to their dreams is something that I know will be rewarding.”
Dr. Matthew Ross, assistant professor of finance, appreciates Bogan’s work ethic in the classroom. “Jamauri came to his introduction to financial markets class physically exhausted from football practice or with injuries from a game. But, he came every day and staked out a Bloomberg terminal in the front row. Despite the challenges and tremendous excitement of the season, he never lost focus on learning. He even connected the expectations surrounding financial markets to looking for subtle cues while reading a defense. He is remarkable at balancing the rigors of Bronco football with academic demands in the classroom. Jamauri sets a tremendous example for WMU student athletes.”
The mix of business disciplines is also something that Bogan is enjoying about his college experience. “I am learning about the art of people skills at the college. I have learned a lot about communication with peers and professors, and I know that I am making relationships that will last a lifetime.”
When speaking about the 13-0 regular season of the 2016 WMU Football Team, three things rise to the top for Bogan: culture, empathy and leadership.
“We believe that culture trumps talent,” he says. “We drive that home within our team and have it driven home to us. Our culture is the backbone for everything we do, whether it’s in the classroom, keeping our GPA above a 3.0 or running the extra three yards after each play at practice. Our culture is built on commitment and work ethic.”
That culture and looking at each week as “a one-game season” was what took the Broncos to the Cotton Bowl, with a season that made history.
A large part of the team’s culture is the love and empathy that the players have for each other. “When you have 105 guys who all love each other and are of one accord, that’s a powerful thing,” says Bogan. “It’s what distinguished us from our competition. We might not always have the biggest, strongest or fastest players, but we all understand each other and care for each other like no one else.”
During the season, Bogan injured his ankle and was out for a few weeks as he recovered—and was there for his team as much as ever. “What you have to understand when you are part of a team like this is that it isn’t about you. Being a leader means you make sure that the next guy is just as good if not better than you are, and you help him. I believe life is about giving and serving, and when I was out, I needed to support my teammates in every way I could.”
Mindset is so often the differentiating factor in athletics and in business, and Bogan’s motto is consistency.
“I don’t get too far up or too far down with things that happen on the field or in the classroom. That’s just me. I have to take things as they come and keep the main thing, the main thing.”
Preparation plays a big part in Bogan’s ability to be effective as a player and student. “Before a game, I have done all the preparation that I can do, between breaking down film to be able to anticipate what defenders may throw at me, to putting in a full effort at practice, to getting the proper rest. By the time game day arrives, I do my warmup jog, listen to Gospel music and let my mind relax.”
And he treats his studies the same way. “You have to put in the work prior to the exam or the presentation. The good thing about Western is that professors are always willing to help you—but you need to show up and practice, just like on the field.”