Tyler Kent saw the writing on the wall that becoming a doctor was not in the cards for him while attending the University of Louisville during his freshman year.
"I ended up being really bad at it," he said. "I started taking a lot of random classes, liked economics and stuck with it."
The Independence, Kentucky, native transferred closer to home and graduated from the on-campus Bachelor of Science in Economics program at Northern Kentucky University in December 2019. He minored in business administration.
"I started working with Dr. Abdullah Al Bahrani at NKU," he said. "A lot of what he does focuses on trying to increase financial literacy across the country. People, as a whole, are bad with their money. The objective is to try to make that better.
"I did a lot of research through the Center For Economic Education, where Dr. Al Bahrani is director. Ultimately, what made me want to do it is how applicable it is to everyday situations in life. You can find economics in anything."
Kent was eager to attend NKU — especially because it is so entrenched in the region and provided an affordable opportunity to complete the final three years of the degree in familiar territory.
"You are going to get great value by going to Northern Kentucky University," he said. "It's not an expensive school. It's hard to miss the opportunities they present to you there and not accept at least one of them.
"The size of the school drew me in, too. The professors also take an interest in their students' education. It was an all-around good place to be. It was a community more than a school."
Kent is a registered health savings account specialist at Fidelity Investments and a registered broker-dealer. He has worked for the company, in Cincinnati, for three years. "I worked at Fidelity part time during my senior year of college," he said. "They offered me a full-time position when I came out. I got my licenses in November 2020."
ECO 305: Foundations of International Business, one Kent's courses as part of the business administration minor, was his favorite in the bachelor's degree program curriculum.
"That course made sure you understood social dichotomy when you are dealing with business arrangements between countries," he said. "The instructor, Dan Kent, told a lot of stories from his life. It was the most applicable course to my career — especially with the globalized world that we live in. He made it fun and entertaining."
The combination of the economics major and the business administration minor prepared Kent to hit the ground running in the real world.
"A huge building block of my career was the economics background," he said. "It set me up for my life in stocks. Without it, there is no way I could have passed these exams.
"Finance was a big part of the business administration minor. I took a couple of those courses, as well. Those were the building blocks for everything I do in my career now. It was also applicable and translated well."
Kent benefited from the networking at NKU outside of the classroom, which is another reason he is such a fan of the business program.
"They do a lot with Business Week initiatives," he said. "They have hundreds of firms from the Cincinnati region and across the country come and recruit. It's an awesome program."
Earning the bachelor's degree close to home was extra special for Kent because he is the first person in his immediate family to attend college straight out of high school and obtain a degree.
"The commencement ceremony was fun," he said. "I was mostly there for my family, but we had a good time. We had our high school graduation at the same venue.
"My mom still sends me the video of my graduation every other week and says, 'I am proud of you. I say, 'Come on, mom, that was a year ago.'"
Kent, who enjoys taking aerial photography of Cincinnati with a drone camera, looks forward to seeing which direction his career will take in the future.
He believes that having a degree from NKU has already created opportunities for him and will continue to do so down the road.
"Especially in this area, when you say that you went to NKU, you are going to meet 10 people in your office who also went to NKU," he said. "It's a household name.
"The College of Business at NKU is top-tier in the world, let alone in the region. There's a lot of response to the name. It has opened doors for me."
Learn more about NKU's online business programs.
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