Student Spotlights

Keenan Gentry

Keenan Gentry (Class of 2013)

Fun Fact:
Keenan is an avid banjo player and collects vintage banjos.

You have an interesting fun fact. Can you explain a little more about it?

I was working at an internship in South Africa in the summer of 2010 and needed an activity to do in the evenings. There was a music store near where I was staying, so I decided to go there and ended up buying a banjo. There was no internet at the home I was staying in, so I would walk to an internet café and download instructional videos to watch later on. This is how I learned to play the banjo and since then I have purchased 4 banjos including an antique built in 1890.

How did you choose Niagara University?

I am from Ontario, Canada, and chose Niagara University due to its AACSB accreditation and its articulation agreement with Niagara College in Canada.  I was able to transfer two years of credits from Niagara College with relative ease thanks to the College of Business and Admissions Office staff that were incredibly helpful. I have found business classes at NU to be eye-opening, challenging me to a whole new level.  I have had some awesome classes including Intermediate Accounting with Prof. Aquino as well as all of Prof. Hutton’s finance classes.

Back to your internship in South Africa; tell us a little about your experiences there.

I was working at Walter Sisulu University in East London, South Africa. My focus there was working in their microfinance consulting division. We were working to help establish a curriculum to train microfinance lenders in proper lending and management techniques. It was a great experience and it fit well with my international business and finance concentration.

Have you been involved with any other internships?

I spent last summer working at Citibank in Toronto in their Citi Transaction Services division as a Summer Analyst. The transaction services department serves to facilitate transactions and basically help major corporations move money across borders and around the world. My specific role was focused more on process reengineering initiatives, specifically on streamlining and removing inefficiencies in the deal cycle of the Trade and Treasury group. I think internships are very important for a few reasons. They give you something to talk about in interviews and they show initiative. It shows potential employers that you want to work as opposed to have to work. Also, it is helpful to gain knowledge of working in a professional environment.  In my opinion, they are equally as important as the academic portion of your education.

You are a member of the Finance Association here at Niagara University, what is your role in that organization?

I am currently the vice-chairman of the Finance Association. I am very involved with developing the alumni relations between current finance students and alumni working in the financial sector. Recently, we have been focusing on alumni located in Toronto. We took a club trip to Toronto where we visited several leading Canadian investment banks and also had dinner with 10 Niagara University alumni. I think that the students got the most value from the alumni dinner. Everyone really enjoyed it and made some good connections. In the future, we are looking to start a chartered alumni group in Toronto with the help of the Alumni Office as well as travel to meet with alumni in Buffalo and New York City.

What are your plans for the future?

I would really like to enter into the field of finance and pursue a career in equity research. After gaining a few years of work experience, I plan on continuing my education by pursuing an MBA.  Prof. Hutton sees a bright future for Keenan stating that, “Keenan seeks out the most difficult classes in our finance curriculum, and is consistently one of the best performers. As an undergraduate student, he has built an incredible network of professionals in the investment industry, and without his hard work events such as the Niagara Finance Association’s Toronto financial markets trip would not have been possible. If we could rate his career potential, I think it would be a unanimous "strong  buy".