Chris Kuiper

Class of 2009, B.A. Business Administration: Finance

Chris Kuiper

Two particular experiences at Dordt College stand out to me. The first would be the founding of Dordt's investment club, Defender Capital Management (DCM), which I was first a part of as an analyst and economist, and later the president. While getting DCM off the ground took a fair amount of work, it was well worth the effort. Looking back at DCM now that I have learned more about the investment industry, I don't think I realized at the time how practical of an experience it was. As a college student you often wonder if what you are learning and practicing will really apply to your future career. Although I am still a very recent grad, I can so far say that it certainly does. I have now seen that what DCM does it very similar to what real money manager professionals do in their everyday tasks. Every day I find myself not only using the skills learned in my finance and accounting classes at Dordt but also those learned in English, history and other classes.

The second particular that stands out to me is my tutoring experience at Dordt. Beginning in my sophomore year through graduation, I tutored students for various finance, business and economics classes. The most valuable part of this experience is that it required me to learn the material and concepts even more fully than I had when I originally took the class. Even the act of going through the class a second or third time with the students allowed me to see things I missed, and more fully develop my understanding of the topics. I also had a lot of fun trying to come up with different methods to try to relay the message and concepts. It was truly one of those experiences that challenges you, but makes the rewards that much better because of it.

Besides these two specific instances, I have many memories of great professors who truly love their work and want to see students learn and succeed. I remember a handful of professors who really challenged my current beliefs and faith and prompted me to study and look deeper at my convictions, of which I am very grateful.

I participated in Chicago Semester during my final semester of Dordt (Spring 2009). During the last few months of Chicago Semester I networked and interviewed with as many people as possible to try to see what the job market was like in the Chicago area and what kind of positions were available in the field of finance at the time. It was through this process that I found my current position as a credit analyst for a commercial bank in the western suburbs of Chicago. I believe my experiences at Dordt, as well as my Chicago Semester internship, contributed to preparing me for my current job.

I am currently a credit analyst/underwriter for the commercial lending division of TCF Bank. My primary responsibility is to analyze information related to customers applying for commercial loans ranging in size from $1 million to over $30 million. This includes analyzing the company's financial statements, creating projections and sensitivity scenarios, identifying key risks and making recommendations. I then distill all of this information into a package which is used by senior management to make a decision regarding the loan.

One of the things I enjoy about the position is that it utilizes a number of skills besides financial and accounting such as being able to write clearly and concisely, communicating key ideas to management and peers and being able to converse with customers and question them about their business. I also enjoy that the position entails monitoring the big picture of the economy and various industries as well as delving into the very specifics of just one company.

Besides finance and economics, I enjoy reading, playing the piano and road biking (this summer I completed my first official century ride).

My advice to current business students would be that your education is what you make it. No one cares more about what you learn, how much you learn, and how you learn it, than yourself. Take it upon yourself to study things you are interested in or enjoy, even if you won't get credit for it in a class. In relation to this, I would also like to stress that education today, more than ever, doesn't really depend on your location, your school facilities, or the size of your school. Ideas from all over the world are available to everyone in all forms of media; and by the same token, your ideas have the potential to spread in the same manner. I believe this has huge implications for us as Christians and our call to reform every square inch of the universe God has created.