GRADS ON THE GROUND – Banking on Culture
WITH BRANDEN DELK

STORY JAKE FREDERICKS | IMAGE STEVE HERPPICH

EDUCATION

Grand Valley State University (GVSU)
Finance, B.B.S. ’17

HOMETOWN

Kalamazoo, MI

EMPLOYMENT

Credit Analyst, Huntington Bank

Getting Down to Business
I work at Huntington Bank, a leading regional bank, as a credit analyst for the commercial middle market. I work closely with clients to determine if a company is doing what it needs to be doing to be successful. Then, my team decides how the bank can help our clients reach their business goals in each case individually. We want to make people’s lives better, help businesses thrive, and strengthen our communities.

Building on Basics
When I first started here, I was not an expert in commercial middle markets. I knew a lot about finance from college, but just taking classes couldn’t perfectly prepare me for this specific role. When I first joined the team, I was a bit overwhelmed as I sat in on meetings, hearing the complicated lingo. On my first day, I remember thinking that my coworkers sounded like the adults on “The Charlie Brown [and Snoopy] Show.” As time went on, my team set aside time to explain things to me—that really equipped me to be effective.

It’s All About Culture
Culture was a big factor for me in choosing this job. Everyone seems to have a horror story from past employers, so I consider myself lucky that I found such a terrific environment right out of college. From the start, Huntington has been very welcoming. No matter how far along they are in their career, everyone here is humble and willing to be your mentor, as long as you are coachable and willing to ask questions. I have weekly meetings with my boss and other colleagues about what we want to do moving forward and even how things are going outside of work. I really appreciate working for a company that cares about me as a person.

Advice to College Students
Networking at GVSU led me to this position. It was hard for me at first, but it was worth it. As a college student, you need to go out and socialize. I was on the GVSU football team all four years—it was hard work, but one of the hidden perks of being a student-athlete was that I was forced to become a more outgoing person. As luck would have it, a former teammate called me after attending a charity dinner to tell me about someone he had met that night. I reached out to him and landed a paid internship. So don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask questions. You never know who someone else will know or run in to. If you take those first steps, it gets easier and easier, and it will pave the way for your future.

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