Student Spotlight – Menachem Mandela Dukes, MSED in Sport Administration
“Move Forward.” That is the mission of Menachem Mandela Dukes’ fitness and nutrition company, Zulu Fitness, which he cofounded with his twin brother, Shaka. But it could also be considered his life philosophy.
Born in Detroit and raised in Northern California, both Dukes brothers began training with renowned leaders in track and field starting at a young age. As the Zulu Fitness website states: “With moving forward at the core of their discipline, the running prodigies garnered respectable athletic and academic accomplishments throughout their educational journey, receiving scholarship offers from universities nationwide.”
Mandela attended Michigan State University along with his brother, where they both received a B.S. in food industry management in 2012. After working in Atlanta for over a year after graduation, Mandela realized “It wasn’t the career choice for me.” So he moved to New York City and got a job working as a dietician for the Department of Education for three years. Last year, he moved back to California to pursue a career in fitness, which was always his goal. Entrepreneurship was also part of the plan.
“Throughout our time after Michigan State we always wanted to get back into the fitness industry. Since we knew we were going to be starting a business we wanted to learn more about the industry we were going into.”
The brothers researched different sport management programs, including UOnline’s MSED in Sport Administration. “The U was always our top choice,” said Mandela. “When we found out we got accepted we were super excited.”
The on-campus orientation was a great experience, he said. He enjoyed getting to know his professors and learning about the courses he would take. Today, “about five courses in,” he is still happy with his decision.
“I really like Windy Dees’ courses. I have two courses with her. I really enjoyed her sports sponsorship course.” He also appreciates that the curriculum covers a broad spectrum of the sports business industry. He finds the class interaction and video discussions beneficial. And, of course, he likes that the online program fits into his busy schedule, working a full time job and managing his fitness company.
“I’ve learned a lot in this past year and I am looking to achieve a lot more as I grow personally and professionally,” said Mandela. “Every class I have taken so far I have been able to apply to my business. The courses go hand-in-hand with my professional life.”