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Kelley, WNBPA partner to empower WNBA players in pursuit of graduate education, entrepreneurship

For Immediate Release Jun 20, 2023

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — The Indiana University Kelley School of Business has teamed up with the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, which represents the current WNBA players, to offer players the chance to pursue a graduate education. This partnership will equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful careers beyond basketball.

Drawing from previous successful collaborations for the National Football League and Major League Soccer, this partnership will offer current and former WNBA players the opportunity to attain a master’s degree or professional certificate.

Ash Soni. Photo from the IU Kelley School of Business Ash Soni. Photo from the IU Kelley School of Business

“Through our degree programs and many other initiatives, the Kelley School has long been committed to empowering women to accelerate their careers and become influential business leaders,” said Ash Soni, dean of the Kelley School and the Sungkyunkwan Professor. “Through this partnership, we are providing another highly competitive group of women with the resources they will need for lasting success — in this instance, off the court.”

“Each season, over 95% of the W draft class graduates with their undergraduate degree, and some have even started graduate programs,” said Terri Jackson, executive director of the WNBPA. “Our members know all too well that the career span of a professional athlete is not very long and view an academic partnership with Kelley as a significant pathway to further their education and achieve economic empowerment.”

Later this year, members of the WNBPA will be able to apply for an MBA degree, being delivered online by the Kelley School’s Executive Degree Programs, as well as certificates and a Master of Science degree. WNBPA members will be part of a general group of students and have an opportunity to learn with those enrolled in similar specialized MBA degree programs, offering them a broader perspective of strategic management and economic issues.

Terri Jackson. Photo provided by the Women's National Basketball Player's Association Terri Jackson. Photo provided by the Women's National Basketball Player's Association

Key features of the WNBPA-Kelley MBA program will include the Kelley Capstone Experience, which puts teams of students to work on real-world strategic projects. This provides them with an opportunity to apply skills and knowledge acquired in the MBA program to actual business problems that directly relate to each person’s goals and objectives.

Courses, such as those in business planning, economics, management strategy and quantitative analysis, are taught by the same high-ranked faculty who teach in Kelley’s full-time programs. Many of these classes will be taught using the school’s $10 million Brian D. Jellison Studios. The immersive, state-of-the-art studios enhance the delivery of course content and provide an even more dynamic experience, with faculty and students being together virtually as if they were in an in-person classroom.

A unique component of the developing partnership is an in-person program at Kelley. This program will provide players with insights into entrepreneurship and foster an entrepreneurial mindset within larger organizations.

The WNBPA-Kelley partnership is one example of customized education at the school. For more information about Executive Degree Programs, email

About the WNBPA

Established in 1998, the WNBPA is the first of its kind and longest-running union for women athletes. The purpose of the WNBPA is to protect the rights of players and assist them in achieving their full potential on and off the court. The members of the WNBPA are phenomenal and accomplished athletes. The union members play around the world and are, without a doubt, the global ambassadors for the sport.

About the Kelley School of Business

The Kelley School is committed to helping women discover their own pathway to success. Clubs and organizations provide support, professional development and career opportunities for women in all its degree programs. It was one of the first participants in the Forté Foundation, which supports the advancement of women in business. Kelley also offers opportunities for young women in high school.

Media Contact

IU Kelley School of Business

George Vlahakis

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