Feeling financially liberated, Lauren Chung will graduate from the UTSA Carlos Alvarez College of Business debt free this month.
When her father passed away unexpectedly during high school, obtaining financial support was an important concern for her. UTSA offered Chung a Presidential Scholarship, Pell grants and financial aid to help offset the cost of her education.
“I’d always apply for as many scholarships as I could both from UTSA and outside organizations,” she said. “And, I kept up that process year after year.”
Excelling in a high school AP economics course, she chose to major in economics. “I found it really useful to understand the greater world beyond school,” said Chung, who is a Distinguished Business Student. She soon added a second major in finance because it complemented her degree.
Chung enjoyed her coursework and had several economics faculty that she admired, but her favorite courses were the two that she took with Ron Sweet, MBA ’91, lecturer II in finance. “The way he teaches is really impactful,” said Chung, who was also a member of the Investment Society. “He teaches you a lot about what you actually need to know to work in finance. His classes were always hard, but you have to buckle down and get through that pain to achieve growth.”
Wanting to grow professionally, she joined Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity her first semester and now serves as the Vice President of Pledge Education. “Besides choosing UTSA, my best decision was joining Delta Sigma Pi,” she said. “I was able to plant roots and find my people on campus. It makes learning so much easier when you are encouraged by others.”
Participating in an entrepreneurship event hosted by the college’s Center for Student Professional Development, Chung was introduced to local start-up Dura Software, a business-to-business software company. Following that meeting, she was offered an internship with the company in Summer 2019.
At the completion of her internship, she was asked to continue and spent the next two years working for them. As a corporate development analyst, she helped the team source, evaluate and process all the acquisition targets for the company.
“I had the incredible opportunity to see them grow exponentially from a tiny, back-office start-up to a full-fledged software company with more than six acquisitions and hundreds of employees,” she said. “Being able to work in an environment that is fresh and full of innovation and creativity is rare for someone so early in their career.”
Not sure what the job market would hold, Chung cast a wide net when looking for a full-time job. She accepted a position as a credit risk analyst with Western Alliance Bank in Las Vegas as part of their rotational finance program. “Finance is a broad area, so I wanted to join a rotational finance program so I could determine what area I wanted to pursue long term,” said Chung, who will begin work in August.
Learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, she values the enriching student experiences that UTSA and the Carlos Alvarez College of Business provided.
“Business students have a unique opportunity to take advantage of so many programs, extracurriculars, scholarships and experiential learning activities,” she said. “It is not very often that you get to go to a Tier One business school that is at a university that is so affordable and inclusive.”