Interview Series: Marion Brooks
My name is Marion Brooks. I was born and raised in Fort Worth, TX. I graduated from Wake Forest University in 2007 with a B.A. in economics. I am currently in my 3rd year of law school at the University of Texas. I am in the process of starting my own sports agency. After graduation I hope to turn that agency into a success one blockbuster-deal at a time.
What keeps you hungry?
The short answer is family. Growing up there was never a question as to whether or not I would succeed, as those who came before me have far exceeded any small successes that I have had so far. I want to do right by those who came before me because, if I fail, I will have squandered an amazing opportunity provided by the struggles of so many.
I also just want to live life to the maximum. I see little point in my existence if I am to settle for mediocrity. I absolutely want to be the best at whatever I do. This may surprise those who know me somewhat, because while I am generally thought of as a bright and driven guy, I have a pretty laid back persona that belies the scale of my aspirations.
What was the tipping point that pushed you to develop a sports agency?
I began seriously thinking about becoming a sports agent this past spring after the law firm with whom I was to work over the summer called me and said that they had cancelled their summer program due to an economy in decline. As a result, I along with about 10 other kids was suddenly unemployed during the most crucial time of law school for getting a job.
Fortunately, I ended up finding employment and had a good experience this summer. However, that period of time where I was scrambling to find something to do, allowed me to take a step back from the typical law school track that funnels bright minds into law firms year after year, and evaluate my priorities. I thought about why I went to law school in the first place, and despite getting a full-time offer from the firm I worked at this summer, I decided to shift my focus in line with that evaluation.
I ultimately decided that I’m going go after my dream as hard as possible and see where I end up.
Can you go through the process from thought-to-implementation?
After deciding that the typical law firm path was not for me I initially began looking at working for one of the big agencies in New York or LA, something that I may still end up doing. However, because I wouldn’t be able to pursue that avenue until I graduate in May, a few of my friends and I decided to pursue an agency of our own in the meantime. The 3rd year of law school is not exactly captivating my imagination right now, so a side project is also a nice way to keep me sane.
At the point where my friends and I decided who all was on board, we went ahead and researched the legal requirements of becoming an agent. We have since formed an LLC in Delaware, filed paper work with the Secretary of State’s office, etc. We are currently in the process of recruiting clients, and researching various facets of the field. However, we have a pretty strong working knowledge base already, and I think that we will ultimately be successful.
What’s been your path to this venture?
Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, and 20 years?
Honestly, I’m not much for 5-year plans, etc. I don’t know if I will be running my own company in Austin or Dallas, or if I will have recently left the mailroom at one of the big agencies in LA or New York.
That being said, in 5 years I expect that I will have a pretty good sense of my craft, whatever that ends up being. I feel like I will be in a position to help others who come behind me. And I feel like I will be enjoying myself every day. In 10 years I expect to be representing clients whoa re in the mainstream. I expect to be married around that time, and I expect to be diversifying the work that I do on a given day—lending more time to investments, family, serving on boards, etc. In 20 years, I think I may be at the beginning of a foray into politics. If I accomplish what I expect to in those 20 years, I think that I will get the itch to move over to the public sector, and knowing myself, if I get the itch, I will absolutely scratch it.
Who inspires you?
My father and my grandfather initially come to mind. In their own way, they each overcame tremendous obstacles to reach enormous success. In addition, I would say public figures like Barack Obama and Tiger Woods, each of whom embodies being he absolute best at their craft. I’ve always been attracted to talent, I respect when someone is the best, day after day with rarely a hiccup.
As for historical figures, Malcolm X is probably my favorite because his take on the world was just so raw and pragmatic and he realized that societal transformations do not come without certain level of blood, sweat and tears. Whatever one thinks of his politics, one must recognize a unique ability to lead men stemming from his singular ability to understand of what drives men and to use that information in order to organize them.
Finally, the work that scientists are doing inspires me a lot. The progress that we’ve made in the last century in mapping the universe in addition to unearthing fossils which tell the story of what happened on the earth before us, both fascinate me and lead me to believe that somehow, humans will be able to solve the problems that still plague us: climate change, population, energy, war, etc.
Can you describe the importance of networks to you?
Networks are extremely important. I am constantly contacting people who may be in a position to help me with my career, and setting up times to meet with them to express my goals, what I’ve done so far to reach those goals, and how I think they can fill in the gap between where I am and where I would like to be. It is because of networks that I think I am in a better position than many of my classmates who are still looking for work, and even those who have already found work.
As a follow-up frustrations you’ve had with networking?
Ha, you are right, networking is not all roses. In order to do it effectively, you need to take the approach of throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks. Some people simply won’t help you regardless of who you are or who you know. Others like to pay lip service to helping you, but would just as soon see you fade into the background. And still others are just as happy to pass you on to someone else, which can sometimes be fruitful but often you reach a dead-end anyway, just a little further down the road. I am a firm believer however, that with enough perseverance, you will find someone who will be both willing and in position to help you.
What’s your networking style?
I touched on this a little bit above, but I’ll start with a name and email them, telling them concisely who I am and what I want, and where they fit in. Hopefully you get a positive response, if not just move on.
In person, I’ve found myself to be pretty good while in the room with someone, whether it be an interview, cocktail hour, or whatever. It’s all about finding common bonds, and the more diverse your interests, the easier those are to find.
What is the Marion Brooks Brand, or what do you want it to be?
Great question. Unfortunately I don’t know how much of a brand I have today as I’m speaking with you. I’d like it to embody passion, a willingness to take risks, and a reputation for the utmost professionalism. I’d like to be a tough negotiator without rubbing people the wrong way. And I’d like to be known for maximizing the benefit to my clients on whatever deal I am working for. In a service industry like the one I’m hoping to excel in, the work has to be about the clients, and the happier I can make them, the better business and life and general will be for me.
I want to thank you for the opportunity to do some honest thinking about my own life and my priorities. It’s been fun.