“I am consistently impressed with the intelligence and the drive of students that I meet,”
Full-Time MBA - Alumni
Rufus King knows the importance of community and the effects of culture in higher education: He experienced them firsthand as the son of a director of fundraising in higher education. King carries on the passion for student success instilled by his father by formerly serving on the board of directors at Maryville College and Manchester University.
“I am consistently impressed with the intelligence and the drive of students that I meet,” he says. “They are competitive and are receiving an excellent education that I am excited to continue to see grow.”
King received a business degree at Manchester University in Indiana where he met his wife Beccie. When King decided to pursue his master’s degree they returned to Beccie’s roots, in East Tennessee. While Beccie worked as a nursing instructor at the Fort Sanders School of nursing, King was hitting the books at the University of Tennessee. King began by pursuing a degree in economics, but soon switched to an MBA after realizing a keen interest in finance and the broader job prospects available.
“My wife Beccie was basically putting me through school and I knew I needed to choose a career path that was going to have many opportunities to grow and develop and find a job that could provide for my family,” King says.
King took a position at First Union Bank, now Wells Fargo, as a member of their management training program right out of his MBA. A few years later, his boss moved to Hibernia National Bank in New Orleans to take over the CEO role and asked King to join him. King says that the most important takeaway from his first career is that who you work with and for, matters.
“It’s very important to network and to make sure you have good relationships with the people you are working with and for,” King says. “You never know when they get an opportunity and might be in a position that they need some help, they could bring you on. The impression you leave with others is important.”
Mentors like fellow University of Tennessee graduates James A. Haslam II, and Jim Smith, former chairman at First American in Nashville, left a lasting impression on King and the way he runs his current part-time credit risk management consulting practice.
“Jim Haslam impacted me greatly because of his work ethic, attention to detail and constant desire to give back to the community,” King says. “Jim Smith was always thinking ahead and anticipating trends and inspired me to keep moving forward. You have to surround yourself with people in your career who push you and challenge you; both of those men did for me.”
King highly encourages finance students to consider the field of consulting one day but stresses the importance of getting some experience first.
“It is very important for you to get experience and knowledge prior to consulting and particularly to get line experience in working with and managing people,” King says. “To be really good at any type of consulting you have to have a knowledge base that they market is willing to pay for, you have to be able to develop networks. But it is such exciting and fulfilling work.”
King stresses that those networks are developed by gestures that let both individuals and businesses know that you care about them and about their successes.
“Be objective. Be truthful. And stay respectful of others,” King says. “Hand-written notes never get old. People appreciate, no matter their age, receiving those. Even if it’s something small to say thank you, happy birthday or special recognition for tenure or a successful job well done.”
King’s consulting practice primarily focuses on working with banks concerning credit risk management training. He also has participated as an expert witness regarding commercial credit risk matters.