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High-Speed Dream Fuels Student’s Pursuit of Global Business Degree

A student in the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in global business because he hopes doing so will help drive his success in a career not usually associated with that major.

Reger in racing gear with championship trophy
Nicholas (Nikko) Reger won the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship last September. (Photo courtesy of Ignite Media)

“My one goal in life is to become a professional race car driver,” said Nicholas (Nikko) Reger, a junior. “That's what I want to do.”

Reger started go-kart racing when he was 9. By age 13 he was in a full-size car — but only on racetracks whose governing bodies allowed it. He was the Texas Teen Mazda Challenge winner in 2014. Last September he won the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship and $200,000, which he will invest in the next stage of his career.

Recently, he and his brother Timo climbed the next rung of the ladder by signing a contract to race in the 2019 IMSA Prototype Challenge, a six-race series that began Jan. 5 at Daytona International Speedway. They placed 10th in that race.

Reger said the global business degree program is a good fit for him because of the international nature of the racing business, which includes manufacturers across the globe. He frequently speaks with engineers from Germany and Japan. He is under contract with Mazda Motorsports, the North American auto racing division of Mazda Motor Corp.

“A huge part of a race car driving career is business,” Reger said. “There’s a million different business meetings with so many different companies. Racing is such a unique way of doing business because you’re not necessarily selling a product. I have to be creative and sell my own personal brand instead. The Jindal School is providing me with an education that will help me do that.”

"Racing is such a unique way of doing business because you’re not necessarily selling a product. I have to be creative and sell my own personal brand instead. The Jindal School is providing me with an education that will help me do that."

Nicholas (Nikko) Reger, a global business junior at UT Dallas

Hubert Zydorek, director of both the global business program and the Center for Global Business at the Jindal School, said the degree will equip Reger with an international mindset that will help him understand different cultures and how they do business, including management styles, communication methods and negotiation tactics.

“Culture impacts pretty much every single functional area and competency,” Zydorek said. “Decision-making, problem-solving, consensus building — all that stuff is going to be impacted and will require different approaches depending on where in the world one does business.”

By the time Reger earns his degree, he will be able to step outside his driver’s perspective and better understand how the entire motorsports industry works, Zydorek said.

In addition to his racing pursuits, Reger maintains a full-time academic workload and works part time at a clothing store. He said he plans every minute of every day on a Google calendar. He said the only reason he can manage such an intense workload is because “I am very, very passionate about my racing career.”

“I'm here at UT Dallas pushing for not only myself but for the community,” he said. “I personally have a lot of pride here, and I think that we can do great things.” 

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].