Dave Stark

Hometown: Lakeland, Florida

Interests: Sports, Food, Fantasy football, visiting new places, going through life with the guys on my floor – 2AAAAAA!

Faith Journey: I always knew and believed in Jesus, but I didn’t start to take my faith seriously until college. When I got here, I was mentored by several guys on my floor which really set the stage for God to shake up my life. I’ve been through plenty of valleys, and God has lead me through every one of them. When I was a junior, I went through a lot of experiences in my personal life that left me at rock bottom. I felt Jesus like never before as he introduced truths into my life that allowed me to heal from past pains. Today I am still learning and growing and finding out about God and his plans and purposes for my life.

Favorite aspect of LeTourneau University: Intramurals, for both its competitive nature and relief from school work. I met so many people and had so many memories through intramurals that I will take with me for the rest of my life. For someone who loves to go out and play sports recreationally, this will be your favorite aspect too.


Financial Focus

Why did you choose Finance?

I had a strong math background, and wanted to be able to apply math in the major I chose. I tried Engineering and Computer Science, but in the end, Finance won out. The thing I love about Finance is that you are taking all aspects of the business world and quantifying it in a way that is helpful in making decisions. I also get to work with and around people, which is a huge deal for me. Dealing with money, which everyone is innately concerned with, is also a fun part of it.

What has been your favorite Finance course so far?

Technically, we are required to take an internship as a class, and my internship in town with a local real estate investment company has been my favorite. I have learned so much in how a business works and how the applied math of finance gets combined with actual decisions that must be made. If I had to pick a class, I would say Corporate Finance (which is what I use in my internship), because it really lays down fundamentals of how a business evaluates its financial position.

What has been the most challenging Finance concept for you?

I have taken an Investments class, and the stock market is downright difficult to predict. There are many methods, but the market is driven by so many external factors (think macroeconomic policies and investor fears) that it is hard to peg. The market is fun to play with, but there is no way I would want to try to work with it as my job.

Have you participated in any memorable projects or events for your Finance classes?

In my Investments class mentioned above, we actually got to play with the stock market and pit our strategies against the rest of the class’s expertise. It was a crash course in how much none of us really knew what was going on, but it made certain people look like geniuses for their investments.

What is the most important thing you have learned so far about Finance?

It’s an inexact science. There may be 5 models for a given topic, and any of them could be right. It takes trial and error and a deep understanding of surrounding events to really know which method is most appropriate. The combination of decision making with applied math makes Finance a very unique field.

Advice for prospective Finance students.

Finance is a wide field, so research all of the things you can do with a Finance major before you ever sign up to be one. You can work in a bank, in a large company, in a small company, for the government, wherever! There is also a wide range of activities covered by Finance, from investment banking to managing a new product at an up and coming business. Always be on the lookout for activities you would be interested in and see how Finance relates. If you don’t know one yet, don’t worry, most of us don’t know exactly what we will be doing either. One thing is for sure: you will never be limited with a degree in Finance.