2019 Best & Brightest: James Griffin, Texas Christian University (Neeley)

James Griffin

Texas Christian University, Neeley School of Business

“A Southern California transplant who gets away with saying “y’all” just a bit too much.”

Fun fact about yourself: Over the three years I spent catching bullpens for the TCU baseball program, I had three different pitchers throw a fastball through the web of my glove – luckily I was wearing a helmet all three times.

Hometown: Foothill Ranch, CA

High School: Santa Margarita Catholic High School

Major: Finance

Minor: Religious Studies

Favorite Business Course: TCU Educational Investment Fund

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles During College:

TCU Educational Investment Fund (Chief Administrator); TCU Transaction Investment Professionals Board (Student Mentor); TCU Excel for the Workplace Class (Instructor); TCU Varsity Baseball Team; Sigma Phi Epsilon; Neeley Fellows Student Organization (VP of Membership & Programming); TCU Student Foundation (Campus Tour Guide); TCU Frog Camp (Student Facilitator); TCU Religion Department (Teaching Assistant)

Where have you interned during your college career?

Credit Suisse | New York City, NY | IBCM Summer Analyst, Financial Institutions Group

Luther King Capital Management | Fort Worth, TX | Equity Research Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Credit Suisse | New York City, NY | IBCM Analyst, Financial Institutions Group

What company do you admire most? Luther King Capital Management, where I have interned since my sophomore year. The firm is a family made up of authentic and brilliant people. In addition to being a stalwart in the Fort Worth finance community, LKCM plays an active role in developing the careers of many TCU Finance undergraduates through a distinguished internship program. The program provides students who have little prior exposure to finance the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry. I will forever be grateful to Luther and LKCM for the opportunity they blessed me with several years ago.

Who is your favorite professor? Dr. Bill Moncrief, my marketing professor from sophomore year. He taught my Neeley Fellows cohort (our Honors Business program) during our first semester in the program.  We were all relatively stressed out at the time since it was our first semester of demanding coursework at TCU, so I got our class to celebrate Aloha Wednesday. We all wore Hawaiian shirts to school on the day of Dr. Moncrief’s class to take the edge off a bit. Dr. Moncrief caught on to the trend and showed up the day of our first big test with a Hawaiian shirt on under his dress shirt.  Beyond having an excellent sense of style, Dr. Moncrief takes a personal interest in the success of his students. I know Dr. Moncrief will be a close friend and mentor of mine long after I graduate from TCU.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? While I appreciate all that I have learned over the course of my time in the TCU Neeley School of Business, I enjoyed nothing more than building relationships with all of the students, faculty, and staff who make the school such a vibrant community.  I’m excited to enter the post-graduate stage of my life knowing I have such a supportive network of family and friends.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The omnipresence of the “pay it forward” mentality.  From the day I became part of the TCU Neeley School of Business, I was embraced by the older students, faculty, and staff.  People with more experience than me expressed a sincere interest in my success and happiness. I can only hope that I am able to make the same kind of impact on the lives of students younger than me by the time I graduate from TCU (and into the future).

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Religious Studies. While I am passionate about my future career in finance, my academic passion has always revolved around studying religion. I have always felt that the best way to understand people is to study the way they come to understand the universe and their place in it.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad, who studied business in college himself. In fact, he initially advised me against pursuing a business degree. When I mentioned to him that I wanted to transfer into the business school, he asked that I do two things first: (1) pay for a subscription to the Wall Street Journal and find one story each day that interested me, and (2) minor in a liberal arts discipline. It was important to him that I persistently challenge myself to think critically about the multi-dimensional issues I would soon come across every day in business. I will always be grateful that he challenged me in this way – the most successful businesspeople seem to be the ones who ask the best and brightest questions.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud to have been part of a TCU baseball program that made the 2016 and 2017 College World Series. As a bullpen catcher, I didn’t contribute hits, runs, or outs, but I worked hard day-in and day-out with a group of guys I will respect for the rest of my life. Coach Schlossnagle has built a championship culture in Fort Worth and I will always consider it an honor to have been a part of that tradition.

Which classmate do you most admire? Dan Briere, who is one of my closest friends as well as one of the wisest people I know. More than anyone I have ever met, Dan has challenged me to ask the right questions, invest in my relationships, and maintain a healthy dose of perspective in my everyday life.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My family, without a doubt. My parents push me to ask the most from myself as a student and person, yet are always the first to tell me when I need to take a deep breath or slow down. My sister’s drive and determination serve as sources of inspiration for me every day. In their own ways, they each encourage me to be the best version of myself.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  1. Finish my private pilot’s license and fly with my Grandpa Jim
  2. Watch a ballgame at all 30 Major League Baseball ballparks

What are your hobbies? Spending time with my friends, reading, and listening to music. I’m working on my private pilot’s license and love to fly Cessna-172s.  I just retired from baseball this year, but still love being active and consider myself a proud TCU Horned Frog.

What made James Griffin such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?  

“James Griffin is one-of-a-kind. He was a great student to have in class and goes above and beyond in his service back to the Neeley School. One story epitomizes James. In his sophomore year, he declared Wednesdays to be “Aloha Wednesday” and people in the Neeley Fellows class should wear Hawaiian shirts on Wednesdays. It caught on with a large number of students in the class and he knew his movement had made it when one Wednesday I showed up in a Hawaiian Shirt.

James was a catcher on the TCU baseball team, a Neeley Fellow, and involved in so many different activities that were all phenomenally time-consuming. He never complained and he always had a smile on his face.  It is a pleasure to have such an uplifting, hard-working student associated with TCU Neeley.”

Bill Moncrief
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Charles F and Alann P Bedford Professor of International Marketing
Academic Director of Neeley Fellows
Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University



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