Cullen Bernal

A Passion for Numbers

Cullen Bernal’s energy and enthusiasm found a home at the Haslam College of Business. A junior in finance with an information management collateral, Bernal grew up in Charlotte, N.C., and immediately fell in love with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on a campus visit a few years ago. “The people, the hospitality, and the atmosphere drew me in,” he says. “Right away, I knew I’d love it here.”

After starting his college career in another program, Bernal redirected his sights toward the Haslam College of Business. The Masters Investment Learning Center (MILC) is part of what pulled him toward the college. “It’s just my type of atmosphere, with numbers on the board all the time and a constant stream of information,” he says. “I used to walk by and wish I could work there.”

This year, he’s living that dream. As an intern at the MILC, Bernal relishes the opportunity to bring together skills he’s learning across several courses in finance. “It’s a great learning tool if you’re hoping to get a whole grasp of business,” he says. “A lot of the functions I use on Bloomberg involve income, balance, and reporting statements, and I’d like to get a job in finance where I’m able to utilize those.”

As a sophomore, Bernal participated in the Disney College Program while maintaining a full college course load. The company’s emphasis on customer service made an impact on him, and it’s something he’s brought back to Haslam by creating UTKnow.

“I realized we didn’t have a student organization specifically focused on customer service, and it’s an issue that affects every type of business,” Bernal says. UTKnow meets biweekly to share presentations and host guest speakers from participating companies. “We’ve had some great success in our first semester, with a lot of student interest and several speakers from well-known corporate partners.”

Following graduation in 2021, Bernal hopes to work at a company that combines an engaging atmosphere, positive coworkers, and teamworkdriven goals. “Once I find my passion within finance, I want to go back and get a masters’ or an MBA.”

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