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Finance Student Overcomes Personal Loss, Discovers New Career Path

After unexpectedly losing her grandfather and planned career path on her first day at TCU, Alaina Tucker’s decision to continue her education thousands of miles away from family in California led to new opportunities, mentorship and support from her TCU connections. 

November 23, 2023

By Jen Engel

Alaina TuckerIf you only read the first sentence of TCU senior Alaina Tucker’s story, you will learn she already has a job lined up as a fulltime analyst at Citibank in their Natural Resources & Clean Energy Transition group waiting for her upon graduation in May. That’s a great story, a success story for the finance major and energy minor. 

If you keep reading, though, you will find a bigger story. It’s a story about the power of the Horned Frog community and the ability of one person to change a life. Ultimately, it describes what makes TCU Neeley School of Business so special.

To understand Tucker’s journey, you have to go back four years to California, when she was a senior in high school and like most seniors trying to figure out where to go to school. Because she would be paying for college herself, she decided to go to community college.

“It was difficult seeing all of my close friends go off to college,” Tucker admitted. “But I knew putting my head down for two years, and working two part-time jobs, would pay off in the long run.”

She’d work for her grandfather’s appraisal business while at community college and planned to continue working for him remotely while at TCU with the intention of returning to California to work alongside him.

On her first day at TCU, her grandfather unexpectedly died.

“It turned my world upside down,” Tucker said. “I was left wondering if moving 1,000-plus miles away from my family with my future goals [and] hopes no longer possible was the right decision.”

Deciding to stay made all the difference. Tucker got involved, joined clubs and, as a result, landed an internship at the Luther King Capital Management Center for Financial Studies

“My life was changed again when Mr. King offered me an internship at his company,” Tucker said. “The LKCM internship was, and is, one of the best internships that TCU has to offer and has exposed me to some truly incredible professionals.”

King’s contributions to TCU, the Neeley School of Business and Horned Frog athletics are legendary. His name is on buildings, his fingerprints on the rise of the football program, and his influence on students like Tucker. Stories of King’s impact on students, like Tucker, demonstrate the impact one person can make.

“TCU has been and continues to be an important part of my life—it gave me the opportunity to learn and develop, and it is important to me to give back,” said King ’66. “This coupled with the importance of an internship enables our LKCM team to be surrounded by very bright young individuals with leadership skills that are motivated and excited team players. These characteristics bring excitement and energy to an organization; hence we have strived to work with a well-balanced team of interns.”

When the Luther King Capital Management Center for Financial Studies took their annual intern trip to New York City in the last academic year, Tucker was one of the 15 interns. It was her first trip to New York City and it was here she met the Citibank Houston team, which led to an interest in energy finance. That led to an internship with Citibank, which led to the job she has waiting on her following graduation.

“It brings enjoyment and pride to our firm to watch the interns progress in their career,” King said. “Alaina is and will be an exceptional contributor and builder—she is special.”