Athletes Career Change Executive Program

About the ACCE Program

We invite you to join the Ivy League with the ACCE Program, a specialized Executive Education Certificate program offered by the University of Pennsylvania’s acclaimed Graduate School of Education.

ACCE prepares athletes for success in a new career, including education, entrepreneurship, business, science, and the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. ACCE provides select, accomplished individuals with the skills and connections to leverage their talents in new entrepreneurial and social opportunities.

Through a targeted curriculum and intensive training in small classes, participants will earn a certificate from an Ivy League University, sample different career paths, and build basic business knowledge and self- management skills to contribute confidently in a broad variety of career settings.

In addition, participants will:

  • Learn how to lead, educate, and motivate others
  • Develop a personalized growth plan
  • Acquire the financial and investment skills to manage their net worth
  • Explore entrepreneurship and create a personal business plan
  • Successfully demonstrate skills and experience to potential employers
  • Cultivate a professional network of colleagues, academics, and business and community leaders

Download the Athletes Career Change Executive Program brochure here!


Topics covered in the ACCE program include:

  • Career self-assessment
  • Introduction to diverse trajectories
  • Introduction to management, including leadership, strategy, organizational design, teamwork, and motivation
  • Professional skills, including high performance under stress, business writing, public speaking, and persuasion
  • Personal finance and investing 
  • Entrepreneurship 
  • Marketing 
  • Negotiation
  • Résumé building, networking, and interviewing


Participants are selected based on their past accomplishments and promise as business leaders. There are no educational requirements (such as previous degrees or standardized test scores) for admittance.


The program is offered twice each year, in spring and fall, at both the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and in Los Angeles, California. Exact dates will be announced shortly.


Tuition is $6,500 per participant, which includes instruction, meals, and course materials. Participants are responsible for arranging their own travel and accommodations, but specially priced hotel accommodations will be available.


Interested candidates: Please send your CV, cover letter, and the names and contact information for two references to

Contact Us

If you are interested in joining the ACCE program, please email us at or call us at (424) 225-1907.

Bobbi Kurshan

Penn GSE Executive Director of Academic Innovation

Dr. Barbara Kurshan provides executive level leadership of a series of entrepreneurially focused programs and efforts (such as the Milken-Penn GSE Educational Business Plan Competition) and helps develop new degree and non-degree programs at the Penn Graduate School of Education. She began her teaching career at Virginia Tech, where she obtained her doctorate, and was the Director of Academic Computing and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Hollins College for many years. Dr. Kurshan has also served as President of Educorp Consultants Corporation,Executive Vice President of WorldSage, Executive Director of Curriki, Co-CEO of Core Learning, and the Chief Academic Officer of bigchalk. She currently serves on the Board of several education companies. She developed the first children’s software products for Microsoft and also created award-winning products for McGraw-Hill, Apple, CCC (Pearson) and others.

Alexandra Michel

ACCE Program Director

Dr. Michel’s research, teaching, consulting, and speaking engagements focus on the innovations that help firms and executives adapt to high-velocity environments, including new forms of leadership, strategy, organizational design, and career paths. She teaches at the Wharton School, where she also received her Ph.D, and Penn’s Graduate School of Education. Before she became an academic, she worked as an investment banker on Wall Street, in Goldman Sachs’s mergers and acquisitions department. She also worked under Goldman’s Chief of Staff, helping the firm implement a new approach to executive education, with topics that included leadership, selling, and building client relationships. Her research is published in leading academic outlets, such as Administrative Science Quarterly and Cambridge University Press. Her work is also covered in important TV and radio outlets, including CNBC/CNBC Korea, Bloomberg TV, and NPR. In addition, over 40 other outlets have reported on her research including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC, TIME Magazine, New York Magazine, Fox News, The Los Angeles Times, Forbes and other press in the US, China, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Romania, Argentina and Brazil.

Zhifu "Ken" Chen

ACCE Assistant Director

Chen is a serial entrepreneur, who has worked in the areas of healthcare, social media, and career transitions. He graduated from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business.