Yessenia Duran, a finance and marketing major graduating in May 2021, shares about her experiences at Texas Tech and Rawls College.
Wherever life takes them after Rawls College — graduate studies or a new job — the spring class of 2021 reflects on the achievements made possible through a community that promotes academic success, encourages student involvement, and inspires excellence.
During her undergraduate career, Duran helped form three new student organizations at Texas Tech. She co-founded the Italian Club, the Texas Tech chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) and the Rawls Banking Association. Additionally, Duran served as a Rawls Ambassador, president of Texas Tech's Define American chapter, fundraiser chair of the Hispanic Student Society and was a First Gen. member.
Beyond her involvement in student organizations, Duran completed three internships. Most recently, in the summer of 2020, she completed a credit and wholesale internship with Bank of America. In the summer of 2019, Duran served as a financial analyst intern with Dell Technologies, and during the summer of 2018, she completed a financial advisor development program with Edward Jones Investments.
Why did you choose to major in finance and marketing?
I came to Texas Tech University to study architecture but after my first semester, I realized it was too costly to study, and I did not have a passion for it. I searched for things I was interested in and began taking sociology classes since I thought I wanted to go to law school. Later, I talked to the University Career Center and took a test to find out. I realized I liked business affairs. Thus, I enrolled at the Rawls. Then, I consulted with advisors at the Rawls and found that the opportunities available with a finance degree interested me and resonated with what I wanted my career to be. The decision to complete a degree in marketing came after listening to Jürgen Klaric, CEO of Mindcode International, an expert in neuromarketing and cultural anthropology. I found a unique passion in marketing and wanted to pursue knowledge of the field.
What educational accomplishments are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my two bachelor's degrees. I am the first one in my immediate and extended family to graduate from a university with a bachelor's degree - not only one but two. I am following a career in finance and I knew that is where I wanted to get started, yet personally, I wanted to have knowledge in marketing because it was a topic that interested me a lot. I knew that at one point it would help me not only professionally, but even personally and it has. Therefore, I am proud to have followed my dreams and interests.
During your time at Rawls College, who has made the greatest impact on you, and why?
The very first person that made an impact in my life here was Dr. Francisco Delgadillo. When I moved over to the Rawls, I knew I wanted to do business, but I was nervous and afraid because I had an idea of business as something that men did; I felt out of place. In addition, I had recently lost the moral and economic support from my father. I had lots of doubts about myself and if I would truly succeed. Yet, during “Intro to IT,” one of my first classes, I met Dr. Delgadillo. I reached out and spoke to him about these doubts and fears, and he became my mentor thereafter, that father figure. From there on, any time I had an issue or needed a piece of motivation, I would visit his office and talk to him. He taught me that hard work pays off, to always reach for an answer and not get stuck, and to follow your dreams and passions and you will find success, even if it takes time. He truly pushed me to be the best version of myself, influenced me and motivated me to become all I had ever wanted to be: a great student and professional.
What are your plans after graduation?
I begin working full-time for Bank of America in San Francisco, CA in July. I will start onboarding and intro work for my position on the commercial real estate banking team. Then, I will move to California sometime around October to begin working in the office. Later, after I have been in the workforce for about five years or so, or when I feel it is the right time, I plan to pursue a master's degree. I want to be able to hold management positions, as well as get involved in the banking industry on a deeper level while working on another educational dream of mine.
What advice would you offer current or incoming Rawls College students?
The best advice I could give, which is what changed my undergraduate, professional, and personal career, is to break away from your comfort zone. Follow your interests and passions, and you will find success. There is no growth in the comfort zone. A plant does not reach its full potential if it does not break through the soil of the earth. The only thing you should strive to be afraid of is fear itself because it is often the factor that keeps people away from reaching their full potential. So go out and network! Have fun! Explore! Be excited when challenges arise.
What were some of your favorite things about living in Lubbock?
I truly enjoyed the small-medium size town environment. The hospitality was far beyond my expectations. The events hosted throughout the city helped me get closer to my friends and feel like I had a home away from home.
Why do you love Rawls College?
I love the Rawls because it gave me the opportunity to reach my goals and to see my dreams come true. I appreciated the mentorship I received from some of the professors, primarily Dr. Delgadillo, but also Dr. Myers and Mr. Mauldin. I knew I could reach out to my professors such as Dr. Cardella, Dr. Ottolenghi, Dr. Scott and professor Kantelis, and I would receive the help I needed because they truly care for the success of students. The hospitality all around the college was unmatched. The staff at the advising offices, the CMC and even the small operations room (where you buy scantrons) were always so kind, positive, and willing to help in any way. In addition to all the intangibles, I also received great financial help through all the scholarships the Rawls was able to provide. It allowed me to continue my studies and my leadership in organizations without stressing about having to pick up extra hours at my part-time job to make ends meet. The Rawls College truly molded me into the best version of my personal and professional self.
P.S. I want to give a big thank you to all my mentors, professors, and all the staff for all the help, advice, and motivation. I could not have done this without you all; I truly mean it.