Tanner decided CU Denver Business School would be his next adventure.

Tanner Calhoun has had an adventurous life. He has served in the Marine Corps, worked a drilling rig and in construction, been a hotshot firefighter, an EMT, a massage therapist, and even been a professional rodeo clown and bullfighter. Tanner’s most recent move has been a bit tamer by conventional standards, but he still finds it exciting. Since 2017 he has been a student at CU Denver, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance and Risk Management. Tanner says he knows risk from the ground up, and wants to use his personal and professional background to help everyone access and understand insurance in a way that will help them.

Tanner’s path to CU Denver Business School

Tanner didn’t start out in the Business School at CU Denver, but he is very glad that it’s where he has ended up. He originally came to school to get a math degree with the eventual goal of becoming a meteorologist. However, he realized that he wouldn’t have a chance to use his people skills in his day to day work if he was stuck behind a computer all day.  A mentor through the Boots to Suits program encouraged him to reconsider his major, and he realized that a business degree could combine his love for math and his desire to help people. Though he isn’t sure the exact sub-field of Finance and Risk Management he plans to enter, Tanner knows that he will be able to use his strong mathematics background to help his clients understand complex data so they can make wise financial decisions.

Growing up in the mountains in Colorado gave Tanner a true understanding of the unpredictability of life. Since work can be so seasonal, a lot of people he grew up with were not able to have insurance, or didn’t trust that an insurance company would have their best interests at heart. He hopes that his time at CU will allow him to go into communities like the ones where he grew up and empower people to understand that they can secure their family’s future with smart risk management. He sees this as a social equity issue, and is passionate about educating everyone on the benefits of smart money management.

For his own education, Tanner chose CU Denver because of the broad range of classes available. When he enrolled in the fall of 2017 to pursue a mathematics degree he realized how many resources were available to him as a student, and began to take full advantage of them. He completed the Boots to Suits program through the Office of Veteran and Military Student Services in 2018, worked as a mentor for the Peer Advisor for Veterans Education (P.A.V.E.) national program where he was assigned 15 new students and helped them transition to entering school. He is now a mentor through CU Denver Business school, as well as a member of the Portfolio Management Group, and Gamma Iota Sigma, where he is the Officer of Diversity and Inclusion.

Advice for other students

The best advice Tanner can give fellow students? “Use the resources available through the school, and to be involved in as many clubs and student organizations as possible, put yourself out there, and get to know people.” With the help of the RMI Program staff, Tanner found a summer internship at Lockton Companies, which provided valuable first-hand insight into the workings of a big insurance firm. He also attends Ethics Initiatives, Commodities Symposiums, and other events hosted by student groups and the CU Denver Business School. He has been able to take useful information away from all the events, even if they are not directly related to his field of study, and made valuable personal connections with fellow students, professors and guest panelists.

Tanner hopes that younger students won’t be afraid of change. He is so glad he decided to switch from a math major into the Business School, even though he had already made progress towards another degree. “Even if you have started down one educational path, switching majors is possible, and having a background in another field makes you a more well-rounded person.” He also feels strongly that coming back to school as an older student is a great decision. Taking time to work before starting his education has given him a much deeper appreciation for everything CU Denver has to offer, and a greater drive to take advantage of all opportunities.

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CU Denver

Business School

1475 Lawrence Street

Denver, CO 80202


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