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Q & A with 2013 NY Mets 5th Round Pick Jared King

April 4th, 2018

By Jared King and Luke Melms

Many players get drafted prior to finishing their degree. In fact, according to a 2012 survey only 4% of active big league players had a four year degree.

Forgoing a senior year if drafted high enough often makes sense as the player has leverage through having a choice of two paths. Teams have the upper hand when drafting seniors when it comes to negotiating a signing bonus.

This week we get to hear from Jared King who knows this scenario well as he signed after being drafted by the Mets as a junior and decided to finish his degree while playing pro ball. I know you are going to enjoy hearing his journey and perspective.

Luke Melms: You were drafted in 2013 in the fifth round by the New York Mets out of Kansas State University as a junior and played four seasons in their organization. At the same time, you took classes to finish your degree.

How did you juggle classes while playing pro ball? What advice would you share with others drafted just shy of completing their degree?

Jared King: Playing ball and going to school was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. My wife really pushed me to take a semester every offseason since I only had three semesters left to finish my degree. I finished my last semester in the spring of 2016 which was obviously the toughest time since I was in Spring Training and the first few months of the regular season. The biggest thing that helped me finish school while still pursuing my baseball career is time management. I scheduled my day in time blocks which made it much easier and way less stressful.

The advice I would give to any person pursuing a baseball career is to finish a degree as well. You are not doing yourself a disservice by taking advantage of the chance to do both. No matter how far your baseball career goes there is always a life to live after baseball.

LM: What was the process like transitioning from baseball full time to business full time?

JK: Transitioning from professional baseball to business has had its ups and downs. You learn a lot about yourself and what you like besides the sport you’ve played for your entire life. It has been great to translate all the things I’ve learned from baseball into the real world and see some success, as well as find my new identity.

LM: Baseball is a great teacher beyond the game. What is the biggest lesson you’ve been able to take from baseball into business?

JK: The biggest lesson I’ve learned from baseball is that your competitiveness and hard work ethic transitions directly into the business world no matter what. Although you are applying it in a completely different way, hard work always results in success.

LM: You’ve been working for Bespoke, a commercial real estate firm, in Chicago since you began working full time. Tell us about your role and what you have enjoyed most about it.

JK: I started with Bespoke about two months after I retired from the Mets organization. I work as a tenant representative assisting privately held businesses and non-profits in the Chicagoland area with their space needs.

What I have enjoyed the most about the role is always being able to do the right thing for my clients. Historically, non-profits and private businesses in Chicago have been under served. Bespoke was created to break that mold.  Our conflict free model of exclusive tenant representation in the private business sector has created immense value for our clients. Coming from baseball, one of my favorite things was building relationships with good people. Bespoke has given me the opportunity to build great relationships with not only my colleagues but my clients as well.

LM: What advice would you share with anyone who may be a couple years removed from the game and is still trying to figure out what they want to do long term in business?

JK: The biggest thing I would say is to take your time – relax! It’s a marathon not a sprint. As high level athletes we are trained to practice something and be very good at it in a relatively short period of time. The business world is so big and there are so many different opportunities you can explore. If you’re confused or frustrated with the process, that is completely normal. Trust the process!

To connect with Jared on LinkedIn, click here

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