How Shaquille O’Neal Earned His MBA

How Shaquille O’Neal Earned His MBA

When Shaquille O’Neal wasn’t being taken seriously in business meetings, he knew something had to be done.

“I noticed that every time I’d go to a business meeting that the guys who we’re doing deals with would be like, ‘Hello Shaq, how are you doing?’ And then they would turn away and look at my lawyers and my accountants and all those guys,” he shares in an interview with the Be Better Off Show. “So, I said, ‘Oh, you guys don’t think I’m in charge. You guys don’t think I understand the lingo.”


His plan? Earn an MBA from the University of Phoenix. But for a man of O’Neal’s status, getting an MBA isn’t exactly straightforward.

“University of Phoenix is an online program mostly,” he tells the Be Better Off Show. “But I went to the head officials and said, ‘I don’t want to do it online. I want somebody to teach me in a class. And they came back and said, ‘Unfortunately, we can’t set up a classroom for one guy. You need 15 people. So, I paid for 15 of my friends to get their masters.”


O’Neal completed the University of Phoenix program and earned his MBA degree in 2005 and went on to earn a Doctorate in Education from Barry University in 2012.

Now, with a $400 million net worth and two graduate degrees under his belt, O’Neal makes his presence known with an impressive financial portfolio that includes several Auntie Anne’s Pretzels restaurants, over 100 car washes, 40 24-hour fitness centers, and part-ownership of Playboy, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and JCPenney.

The degree, O’Neal says, “solidifies that I’m a businessman.”

Sources: SupercarBlondie, Afrotech, The Washington Post, ESPN

Next Page: Tips for Columbia Business School’s 2023 MBA essays

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.