How LSU MBA Student Liam Shanahan is Tackling the Uncertainty of the Pandemic

In the past 12 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has managed to alter virtually every aspect of our lives. Whether you’re a graduating student trying to land that first job after school, an industry professional looking to advance your career, or a parent worried about the future your children are going to inherit, this uncertainty can seem overwhelming at times.

Although hope may be in short supply these days, there are many individuals here in the Flores MBA Program that serve as reminders that not all hope is lost.  Take Liam Shanahan for example. Shanahan is not only a student in the two-year, full-time MBA program, but he’s also an offensive lineman for the LSU Tigers Football Team. Through these last 12 months of adversity, he’s pivoted from losing hope about his future to acknowledging that everything he’s ever wanted is finally within reach.  

Prior to landing at LSU, Shanahan attended high school in central Massachusetts and graduated with an undergraduate degree from Harvard in economics and a minor in Celtic languages and literature. Like so many recent college graduates, Shanahan’s commencement (and senior year) was interrupted abruptly by the pandemic.  “My senior year wasn’t great. We all got sent home mid-March, so our senior spring semester was taken away. My recruiting process also took place during the pandemic, which was interesting because I wasn’t able to travel and visit schools. I kind of had to take a leap of faith, which I’m very happy with now that I’m here, in terms of both football and academics,” commented Shanahan.

Apart from general wanderlust and the opportunity to play in the SEC,  Shanahan was drawn to LSU by the appeal of the Flores MBA Program and its faculty.  “Coming from Harvard in economics, I knew that I was interested in pursuing a career in a field of business. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do when I decided on grad school, but when I decided I was going to transfer to LSU, one of the first things I did was reach out to Dr. Hart and Dr. Karam, and they were super helpful,” said Shanahan.  

After joining the LSU family, he ditched his vision of a ‘traditional’ business livelihood  to pursue a career in sports business. This was when Shanahan became committed to chasing his passions. When it comes to football, transferring from Harvard to LSU is a big difference in terms of the level of competition, but football is what he loves to do and he wants to keep pursuing it. Even if something doesn’t have a guaranteed ending, or if it’s not in his comfort zone, he’s vowed to take more leaps of faith and continue to bet on himself throughout his future.

Photo by: Gil Talbot

Leaps of faith, however, are becoming harder for college students to take due to the pandemic. A recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 82% of college students experience stress due to the uncertainty of their educational futures, and 67% of students report motivational lapses due to the uncertainty of their future post-graduation.

Shanahan, like so many other students in his position, also experienced mental hardships over these past several months. Despite this, however, he remained steadfast in pursuit of his goals by shifting his perspective and capitalizing on the tools he had available to him.

“When everything started happening in March 2020, it was definitely mentally draining. It seemed like everything I’ve been doing in my life up to that point had just been taken away. But, something that I try to do is to put everything into perspective.  There really is so much uncertainty right now for everyone, and one of the biggest things I’ve gotten out of this crisis is the ability to adapt and persevere,” commented Shanahan.

Shanahan’s sheer grit and relentless positivity in the face of adversity serve as a reminder that the future is what we make it-which is something people from all walks of life need to remember. And for Shanahan, a bright future is now well within his grasp.

Football vs Alabama Photo by: Gus Stark / LSU Athletics

“I stay hopeful by looking back, seeing where I came from, and comparing it to where I am today, even with this crisis.  I don’t want to jinx myself, but I feel so close to achieving so many of my dreams, including the NFL draft, which gives me a lot of hope. It still seems crazy that that’s even an option, but now, when I go home, I have all of these people reaching out to me—high school coaches wanting me to talk to their athletes and stuff. I just remember being a kid and looking up to those people, and now I’ve become that guy,” commented Shanahan.

Shanahan’s story provides us with a true example of perseverance, adaptability, and positivity. He reminds us that, despite the chaos that surrounds our day-to-day lives, many great things can still happen.

The LSU Flores MBA Program provides you with a flexible path to advance your career. Our nationally ranked program currently administers a traditional, two-year, full-time program, a one-year, full-time program for business majors, a part-time online (no residency requirement) program, and an Executive MBA Flex. For more information, visit mba.lsu.edu.

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