Texas Christian University, Neeley School of Business
“In running, wit, and work ethic, a distant relative to Forrest Gump.”
Fun fact about yourself: I ran my first full marathon before COVID-19 hit in 2020, and I am training to qualify for the Boston Marathon at some point this year!
Hometown: Edmond, Oklahoma
High School: Edmond North High School
Major: Finance and Entrepreneurship
Minor: Spanish and Hispanic Studies
Favorite Business Course: Entrepreneurial Innovation and Creativity with Dr. Stacy Grau
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: International Justice Mission (VP of Finance, VP of Advocacy, VP of Outreach); Reformed University Fellowship (Servant Team); Beta Theta Pi (Recruitment Team); Student Foundation (Tour Guide, Chancellor’s Host); Neeley Fellows Student Organization (VP of Strategy); Consulting and Advisory Professionals Board (Member); Consulting Club (VP of Operations); IDEA Factory (Workshop Facilitator); Trinity Presbyterian Church Fort Worth (Member, Youth Group Leader); John V. Roach Special Scholar; Chancellor’s Scholar; Clark Society Scholar
Where have you interned during your college career?
Bain & Company – Dallas, TX – Associate Consultant Intern
CoACT North Texas – Fort Worth, TX (Remote) – Project Development Intern
New Covenant United Methodist Church – Edmond, OK – Pastoral Intern
Where will you be working after graduation? Bain & Company – Dallas, TX – Associate Consultant
Who is your favorite professor? One thing that is fascinating to me about this question (and the responses received for it) is how every person has his or her own criteria for deciding what it means for a professor to be considered his or her “favorite.” For me, when I consider what it means for the late Dr. Rob Rhodes to be my favorite professor, the criteria fulfilled centers much more on Dr. Rhodes’ character and being than anything specifically related to academic content. Dr. Rhodes passed away in August 2020, due to complications related to COVID-19, so his impact is even more strongly imprinted on my future leadership due to the experience of knowing him and then losing him suddenly.
Dr. Rhodes was my Business Law professor, but he was certainly much more than that. He was a man full of wisdom, compassion, intelligence and humility. He was a man who embodied a sincere love for teaching, learning and the flourishing of his students. He was a man who would not only captivate an audience with rich, eloquent speech, but who would also listen in such a way that made you feel as if you were the only person in the room. He was an intellect – someone who encouraged critical thinking, always welcomed questioning and embraced nuance. Most fundamentally, Dr. Rhodes was a man who had the rare ability of making learning feel alive.
Dr. Rhodes is and was my favorite professor, a man whose love for learning has challenged and formed my approach to learning in numerous ways. For that, I am indebted and grateful.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I have three pieces of advice that I would give to a student looking to major in a business-related field: one academic, one personal and one practical. Academically, I think every business major should take at least one course in entrepreneurship. Reflecting on the impact of my business courses, my entrepreneurship classes were the ones that really developed my ability to think both creatively and analytically. Plus, every company wants employees who are always seeking to improve processes, develop new ideas and approach problem solving with innovation. Personally, I would encourage business majors to focus on growing self-awareness. In a field where your company name can convey status, where your income can give you a sense of significance, where power is highly sought after, and where there is always more work to be done, you must be careful in understanding the motivations of your own heart. I think the business world has so many great things to offer, but you must also be cognizant of your fundamental desires, insecurities, and dreams or else your work will control you instead of the other way around. Practically, learn keyboard shortcuts.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Throughout my time studying business, I have been most surprised by how important it is to have a broad understanding of business before being able to specialize in any particular area. In fact, I have enjoyed experiencing my business knowledge fit together like a puzzle over the years. Obviously, I have spent the most time in finance and entrepreneurship courses, but the overlap and intersection between all functions of business is always apparent. I think this approach to business, for me, is one reason why management consulting resonated deeply with my interests and abilities. I think that many people begin studying business with the expectation and desire of drilling deeply in one specific field. However, I’ve found great enjoyment and satisfaction seeing business from more of a high-level perspective, understanding how business is more of a complex system rather than independent silos.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Honestly, I wish I would have taken more advantage of the resources that TCU offers entrepreneurs. Though I am someone who wants to eventually build a company and loves the entrepreneurial mindset, I never gave myself the time or space to focus on potential entrepreneurial ventures during school. I am extremely grateful for the opportunities that my extracurricular involvements afforded me, but I wish I would have been a little less spread thin elsewhere to devote more time and attention to potentially starting a venture. In sincerity, I was probably too scared of failure, and that’s one thing I’m glad to have learned about myself now in order to have increased confidence moving forward.
What business executive do you admire most? I have never been someone who has spent much time researching or investigating popular, highly successful businesspeople. For that reason, the “business executive” I admire most is not a CEO of a Fortune 500 company or even a CEO at all. Instead, Nathan Rogg was my Senior Manager at Bain & Company during my internship last summer.
Almost immediately, I was caught off guard by Nathan’s leadership style. At the first morning check-in that I attended, the meeting started with other members of the team playfully making fun of Nathan, and here was Nathan—the most senior member in the room—laughing and playing right along. That minor snapshot is telling of much more about Nathan. Through his leadership, Nathan creates a team culture where results are prized but camaraderie is celebrated; where work is prioritized but life is a welcomed interference; where tasks need to be completed but personal relationships are valued. Nathan is a businessman who embodies much of what I hope to mirror someday: honesty, humility, integrity, selflessness, thoughtfulness and self-awareness. Finally, I admire Nathan because he has chosen to still invest in me (even though I was just his intern!), taking time to regularly talk to and advise me about work, faith, family and life.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I do not think it is an understatement to say that interning for Bain & Company last summer truly was a pivotal point in my life. Even now, many months after the internship ended, I still can remember the feeling of what it was like—for the first time—to work with the whole of my skills and abilities. Unlike anything I had done before, my internship experience at Bain & Company felt as if I was maximizing the interpersonal, analytical and intellectual abilities that I have developed over the years. For that reason, I am most proud of the dedication, effort and time that I put in to receive that internship. As fruit for the hours spent practicing case studies, I was given an opportunity that will change the entire direction of my professional career.
Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate that I most admire is actually not a typical classmate in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, Abraham Duran is a TCU employee, working in TCU’s Physical Plant. Originally, Abraham was technically classified as my “Participant,” the student who I worked with to prepare for the GED exam as part of my Spanish Service-Learning course. However, it is much fairer and truer to describe Abraham as my classmate because Abraham embodies everything about what it means to be a genuine, curious, passionate student. Though we first started out only meeting once a week to work on his English communicative abilities, Abraham soon asked if we could meet on Zoom outside of class to prepare for the mathematics section of the GED exam. Thus, ever since last October, Abraham and I have been meeting weekly, learning how to interpret slope-intercept form, solve systems of equations, simplify expressions, and navigate the world of math.
But why is it that I admire Abraham so much? He loves to learn. He seriously loves learning! Just for the sake of learning! Though he works all day at TCU and has numerous responsibilities at home, Abraham never misses a day of class, and he never complains about how busy he is. He shows up five minutes early to every meeting that we have and would study all evening if he could. His work ethic is unmatched, his attitude contagious, and his story unbelievable. Yet, for as much time as Abraham and I spend studying for the GED exam, I am the one who has really benefited from our friendship. Constantly, I am learning from him what it looks like to actually understand the value and wonder of learning. For that reason, Abraham is a peer, a classmate—the classmate I most admire.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? Whenever I call my parents to tell them good news about a recent accomplishment or success, they always make the same remark, “Keegan, we don’t know where you came from!” In their elation and excitement for me, they apparently are dumbfounded about the origin of my achievements, somehow insinuating that my successes surely could not be derived from them. But, Mom and Dad, I came from you! From the beginning, you have taught, nurtured and sacrificed for me in ways that I can never repay. You laid the foundation and sowed the seeds for everything that I am and will become. You taught me the value of a tenacious work ethic, the importance of challenging myself, and the necessity of being more than just the sum of my accomplishments. You taught me how to serve humbly, to care gently and to love faithfully. There is no doubt in my mind about where my successes have come from: my parents who need to hear these two words more – thank you.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- Either start or build a company in the renewable energy space
- Create or collaborate with a social enterprise that allows me to spend extensive time in a Spanish-speaking country
What are your hobbies?
- Ultimate frisbee
- Listening to old Tim Keller sermons
- Novice pickleball
- Hiking 14ers
- Playing Texas Hold ‘Em
- Reading anything by C.S. Lewis
What made Keegan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“When I met Keegan I knew he was special. Sure, he is brilliant. He has a strong work ethic and is extremely driven. But a lot of business students share those characteristics. What stands out to me is Keegan’s principles. He has a very strong moral compass, which is a tribute to his family and upbringing and early experiences. And he brought those gifts to TCU and made an immediate impact on this campus, his friends and classmates and faculty. He will make an impact on the world. I am honored to have Keegan for three classes and two of them used human-centered design as a core tenant. More than any other student, Keegan embodies the principles of human-centered design. He focuses on understanding people – their problems and challenges and point of view. Keegan has this amazing ability to empathize with people. He can connect with anyone, on any level. Keegan took my honors colloquia course, Design for Social Impact and two entrepreneurship courses: Leadership and Innovation and Creativity. Keegan is also part of a team of coaches who work for me at IdeaFactory. They designed and facilitated a workshop for first-year students called Design Your Horned Frog Experience, to rave results!”
Stacy Landreth Grau, PhD
Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Practice, TCU Neeley School of Business
Director of IdeaFactory, School of Interdisciplinary Studies
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