(UOnline is a proud partner of Front Office Sports)
Front Office Sports is proud to share the stories of UOnline alumni who have elevated their sports career by earning a graduate degree through the school’s online MSED in Sport Administration program.
Born in Detroit and raised in Northern California, twin brothers Menachem and Shaka Dukes competed in track and field completed their undergraduate study at Michigan State University before moving to New York City to pursue careers in health and wellness. After completing a degree in Exercise Science with the International Sports Sciences Association, the Dukes brothers then began the process of starting their own fitness brand in Zulu Fitness.
Now based in Los Angeles, Zulu Fitness works with schools, apartment complexes, and gated communities to provide injury prevention services including cupping and instruction of myofascial release techniques. The company also provides personal training and group training with emphasis in sports performance and nutrition.
Beginning their journey as entrepreneurs prompted both Menachem and Shaka to complete a Master of Education in Sport Administration from the University of Miami’s UOnline program graduating in 2019.
“Being that we were going into the sports and health industry, we wanted to get to know what industry we were going to be jumping into,” Menachem says. “That led us to pursue our masters’ degrees at the U. We found everything we learned still applies to our business as we continue to grow. It was a great experience, overall.”
The Dukes brothers feel that the knowledge and experiences gained through earning this degree has given them the tools necessary to continue growing as entrepreneurs as well.
“It just puts us on another level of credibility,” Menachem says of possessing the graduate degree. “In the industry that we’re in, it just opens up more doors for us, especially when we’re in a teaching/classroom setting. It’s also helped a lot in networking with Miami having such a large alumni network.”
The pair describe trying not to overwork themselves as the biggest challenge of being small business owners in the sports and wellness space. They also list many of the early moments of their company’s life as some of their proudest to date.
“When we got our trademark that’s when we knew it was real,” Menachem says. “So coming to a place where we had no clients, to making a name for ourselves as we continue to build our brand has been really good.”
During their time in the UOnline program, the Dukes found the guidance they received from the acclaimed faculty to be the most beneficial aspect as they provided insights that still stick with them to this day.
“The professors were very supportive in each course,” Menachem states. “They gave you a lot of great feedback and they were just a big help the entire time. That made the entire program a lot smoother.”
The UOnline program also enables students to take one course at a time, allowing them to fully focus on that course. Taking this hyper focused approach also carries with it a helpful piece of advice for entrepreneurs like the Dukes: do the little things right in order to build something that will last forever. This is yet another thing the owners of Zulu fitness take with them from their time as Hurricanes.
“Build something that will last forever,” Dukes states. “You have to have that mindset. You have to continue to do your due diligence to make sure every test is being hit to continue to build the foundation of your business. My best advice to young entrepreneurs and those just entering the program with Miami is to stay focused, disciplined and be patient.”