Ben Means Business

Competitive. Driven. Dedicated. They all describe Michigan Tech All-American basketball player Ben Stelzer.

Whether he’s on the court scoring more than 20 points per game, or in the classroom earning a 3.69 grade point average, Ben knows how to get things done. He’s won awards, broken school records, led the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in stats for nearly every category, and on top of all that, he’s smart, focused, and recently graduated with a major in finance and a minor in economics.

Student athletes are faced with the difficult task of managing both academics and athletics on a daily basis. The pressure starts before the academic school year, continues through holiday breaks, and consumes nearly every weekend. Include daily practice, travel, and a full academic schedule, and what you have is the equivalent of a full-time job.

Stezler just takes it in stride

“The nice part about having basketball and school is your schedule is busy. You don't have as much free time, so your chances to procrastinate are limited,” Ben says. “When school gets busy and practice takes a few hours out of the day, it’s a struggle to juggle everything. The biggest challenge is when you have road trips and you miss class. It’s hard, but I’m committed to both playing ball and achieving my degree.”

Ben Stezler
Ben Stezler

So what’s his secret? Ben says a strong work ethic and serious organizational skills are critical. But it’s more than just those skills. Ben attributes his success during his collegiate career to his coaches and the athletic department for stressing the importance of achievement both on and off the court. Coaches provide information about support resources such as tutoring and mentoring, and help students work with professors to make up assignments or reschedule deadlines.

“I always wanted to do something in business,” he continues. “The competitiveness of investing and working with the stock market lured me into the finance field. I guess my competitiveness comes through off the court as well.”

As for Ben’s immediate future, his dream of playing basketball professionally has come true. In July, he signed with Leyma Basquet Coruna in Spain. His season began in October.

Ben’s also thinking he may someday return to Michigan Tech and pursue a second degree in sports and fitness management. Whenever he makes it back to Houghton, he knows what the reception will be.

“One aspect of Tech that’s so special is the community feeling—not only in the student body and faculty—but also in the support the whole community shows for Tech athletics. I am definitely proud to be part of the Husky community!”

Michigan Technological University is a public research university founded in 1885 in Houghton, Michigan, and is home to more than 7,000 students from 55 countries around the world. Consistently ranked among the best universities in the country for return on investment, Michigan’s flagship technological university offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, computing, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, social sciences, and the arts. The rural campus is situated just miles from Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, offering year-round opportunities for outdoor adventure.