Zach Segal perfects his pitch on the mound and in the classroom
UC baseball player taps Lindner education to forge NIL deals
As a marketing student in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business and a pitcher for the University of Cincinnati baseball team, Zach Segal, BBA ‘23, knows what makes a good sales pitch. Soon after the NCAA updated its name, image and likeness (NIL) policy, Segal began to perfect his elevator speech and use it to make business connections in the community.
“When the NIL ruling went through that athletes could start making deals profiting on their name, I was like, ‘Oh, interesting. Let’s see what I can do,’” Segal reflected. “Back then I reached out to a few restaurants around campus.”
But, with the help of Greg Harrell, the on-campus general manager for UC Athletics’ NIL program, Segal found opportunities to make an even greater impact at UC and in the Cincinnati community.
“Zach can work with local businesses and customize his work experience, while balancing his busy class and baseball schedule,” explained Harrell. “By reaching out to local businesses that he supports, Zach is not only creating opportunities for himself now, but also building his network for potential future employment opportunities.”
Most recently, Segal, alongside eight other UC student-athletes, signed a deal with Medpace, a Cincinnati-based clinical contract research company. The athletes will serve as student ambassadors for the company, promoting co-ops and other career opportunities with Medpace directly to UC students. Segal hopes these types of partnerships illustrate the opportunities available to other student-athletes.
“I think everybody should be taking advantage of it, because there are deals for everyone. People think that it's just for big football or basketball stars, but I think that there are really opportunities for everyone. It doesn't matter what sport you're in.”
Harrell shares Segal’s sentiments and sees NIL as an extension of UC’s commitment to experiential learning.
“Zach has really embraced NIL and is doing it the ‘UC Way.’ Zach and I talk a lot about how NIL really can be work experience that looks a lot like a UC co-op. No one does internships and co-ops like UC, and NIL gives UC student-athletes a new path to pursue new relationships in the Cincinnati business community.”
Although it’s evident that sales come naturally to Segal, initially he wasn’t quite sure where he would fit in at Lindner.
“Through some coursework at Lindner, I realized that marketing, specifically sales, was right for me because I really enjoy connecting with people and building relationships. And, being an athlete, I really like the competitive nature of sales,” said Segal. “I think the challenge of having to earn someone's trust and uncover their needs and work to get the sale is really exciting to me.”
Whether you're a UC athlete or just a UC student in general, just take advantage of all the resources that you have. There are really great career coaches through Lindner. Professors are always willing to help out.
Zach Segal, BBA '23
In addition to balancing his commitments as a student, an athlete and a brand ambassador, Segal also serves on the Student Athlete Advisory Commission and volunteers in the community. As to how he handles it all, Segal advises getting your priorities straight and remaining disciplined.
“I think it just comes down to priorities for me. I really care about academics. I really care about baseball. So, for me, it's just having to be disciplined and be organized,” said Segal. “I joke around with people that I live and die by the Google Calendar. Just being able to schedule everything out and know where I have to be. I think that's something that has made me mature really quickly.”
UC baseball head coach Scott Googins can attest to Segal’s commitment and drive.
“Zach Segal is one of the most committed players we have on our team. He strives to do his best in the classroom and on the baseball field,” said Googins. “He embodies what we want in a UC baseball player and a student-athlete.”
It is likely this work ethic that earned him the distinction of being a Lindner Business Honors student.
“Zach brings his drive to the classroom as well as the baseball pitching mound,” agreed Ruth Seiple, director of Lindner Business Honors (LBH), and professor-educator in the department of operations, business analytics, and information systems. “Even as a student-athlete, Zach has co-oped in the off-season and recently worked at JBM Packaging as a sales and marketing intern. He takes his academics as well as his pitching seriously.”
Through LBH, Segal has connected with many prominent alumni, including Lindner alum and Chicago Cubs outfielder Ian Happ. Beyond the networking the program offers, Segal also values the effort the program puts into creating opportunities for students and setting them up for future success.
“They amplify a lot of opportunities, and they just really help with job hunting because their alumni network is really, really strong," Segal said. "So, if someone is an honors grad, and now they're hiring, they [LBH] always will amplify that to us. And it's really just you get what you make of it, because it's a great resource to have.”
The feeling is mutual within LBH, and many from the program make an effort to also support Segal on the field.
“Baseball was one of the first sports that we could begin to attend in the spring of 2021 as COVID began to release its grip. I grabbed a couple of other students from the honors community to come and cheer Zach on,” Seiple recalled. “There were few in the crowd that day, but we kept our masks on and cheered for Zach!”
Segal has one final year of eligibility on the baseball team in 2024 and plans to continue his education by pursuing his MBA at Lindner.
His time at UC, and as a Lindner student specifically, has left Segal with several pieces of wisdom for his fellow classmates.
“Whether you're a UC athlete or just a UC student in general, just take advantage of all the resources that you have. There are really great career coaches through Lindner. Professors are always willing to help out,” Segal said. “Soon enough, you'll graduate, so definitely take advantage of the resources while you're here because there are a lot of people that want to help you.”
And, as for other student-athletes contemplating how they can leverage their own NIL opportunities, Segal advises they jump in feet first.
“I would encourage everyone to give it a shot. I think it just takes some effort and some really cool things could come out of it. You can treat it like an internship; you can learn a lot of sales and marketing skills.”
Featured image: Zach Segal delivers a pitch during a UC baseball game. Image courtesy of UC Athletics.
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