A Study in Transfer Success
For class of 2020’s Eric Barker, the key to his post-grad outcome is no great mystery. It all boils down to three traits characteristic of the LMU experience, he says, “a sense of community, mentorship, and opportunity.”
Earning a baccalaureate degree in finance from the LMU College of Business Administration, Eric recently accepted an offer to join the financial services firm of Duff & Phelps as an investment banking analyst. The California native previously interned at LA-based private equity firm Crescent Capital Group, and at Civic Financial Services, among other pre-professional pursuits.
“Financial analysis is a bit like solving a crime or mystery – and the analyst is the detective,” Eric said. “The time I spent on the bluff were some of the best years of my life. They clued me into my own spiritual, intellectual, and professional growth, and fostered what I’m sure will be lifelong friendships.”
The story of Eric’s collegiate journey began, oddly enough, with a plot twist. He was dissatisfied with the quality of his first-year experience at another university halfway across the country and decided to change course.
“I was terrified of transferring at first,” Eric said. “I was nervous that all the other first-year students at LMU would have already solidified their friend groups, gotten involved, and so on, but what I ended up experiencing was completely different. Everyone on my dorm hall floor made me feel right at home and I immediately felt like I was part of a family.”
LMU’s community of transfer Lions comprises 21 percent of the university’s total population, with more than 600 students, on average, transferring to the bluff from community colleges and other four-year institutions every year. Additionally, LMU Transfer Admission and Enrollment Services has been recognized by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK National Honor Roll) every year since its induction in 2016.
Eric added that a highlight of his academic experience were the collaborative relationships he was able to forge with LMU professors -- most notably, Associate Professor of Finance, Dr. David Offenberg.
“Dr. Offenberg was instrumental in cultivating my passion for finance,” he said, adding that his professorial support didn’t end with the class bell. “He supported me throughout my time applying and interviewing for several internship opportunities I gained access to through my participation with LMU Career and Professional Development.”
Business aside, Eric added that he mined great value and a renewed perspective via a number of elective courses, including “Migration and the Border: Context, Theology and Pastoral Responses,” an upper-level theology course that studies and constructs a theological response to immigration and the struggle of contemporary immigrants.
“It was a course that dared to push me outside my comfort zone and think about complex issues that I hadn’t taken the time to ponder before,” Eric said. “We even took a class trip to Mexico where we spent the night in a migration shelter. That experience opened my eyes to struggles and perspectives outside my own frame of reference and is something that will stay with me forever.”
Outside of Eric’s academic and pre-professional endeavors, he was also active on LMU’s student life scene, participating in LMU Finance Society, and serving as the Vice President of his fraternity, Sigma Chi.
As for what advice he has for incoming LMU Transfer Lions?
“Jump at every opportunity that comes your way,” Eric said. “As a transfer student, you may have a bit less time on the bluff, but there’s still plenty of it to experience everything that this amazing school and its community has to offer.”