Senior finance major’s community involvement gives real-world preparation

Luke Standford leverages time in KU Student Senate, Jennett Finance Scholars Program to maximize experiences

KU School of Business
5 min readApr 29, 2024

Raised in Salina, Kansas, Luke Stanford harbored dreams of leaving the state to pursue his college education with no intention of attending the University of Kansas. Colleges like Columbia and UCLA piqued his interest and offered him admission. But it wasn’t until he received the Dane Hanson Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship, which provided a full ride for in-state tuition at KU, that Stanford decide to stay in Kansas.

Luke Standford

Coming to KU, Stanford knew he wanted to keep a busy schedule and do something that helped people and the community. Seeing people in leadership positions inspired him, and he knew he wanted to make a positive impact for himself. He became involved in greek life and as student body chief of staff in KU’S Student Senate.

“I ended up coming to KU, and I think it was honestly the best decision I have ever made,” Stanford said. “I think I have always been just a pretty involved person in general. I just like the feeling of being busy and just like that feeling of doing something with your time.”

Stanford’s role as student body chief of staff makes him responsible for reviewing policy initiatives, managing his team of nine people and making sure those students are fulfilling their constitutional duties and any projects they wish to participate in. He considers himself fortunate to serve alongside of his best friends and KU School of Business student Turner Seals, who is student body president.

“I kind of spearhead a lot of the policy initiatives we do,” Stanford said. “We are working on this new thing called ‘Move Out and Donation’ initiative. Every year, the KU community generates hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste during the move-out time periods. The initiative is designed to give students the opportunity to donate any unwanted dorm or living items rather than throw them away.”

Stanford engages with various stakeholders within the community to advocate for policy changes at local and university levels.

He has a track record of leadership. In his fraternity, Beta Theta Pi, he served as vice president for a semester and was also actively engaged in KU’s Interfraternity Council (IFC). These organizations, along with Student Senate, have been his biggest priorities for involvement.

While Stanford has enjoyed being involved in the KU community, he also has been able to get real-world experience through internship experiences.

During the summer of his junior year, Stanford completed a summer analyst internship in New York City for Franchise Equity Partners, a private equity firm and startup.

For this internship, he assisted the analysts in any activity they were currently working on. This included data research, building financial models and building pitch deck presentations to present to investment committees.

Luke (far left) and KU student body from left: Graduate student body president Brendan Falen; student body vice president DaNae Estabine; student senate government relations director Komal Kaur; student body president Turner Seals (across front)

“I think the challenge that comes with an internship like mine is that there is a learning curve,” Stanford said. “The second part is, that no matter what you are doing, you are going to be two or three times slower than the analyst you are reporting too.”

Meeting the people who worked there was one of the biggest highlights of Stanford’s experience. While he did feel overwhelmed and out of place at times, the Franchise Equity Partners team went out of their way to help him and

“They were interns once too,” Stanford said. “They are always very accommodating and understanding. Everyone there played a helping role in my success within the company.”

Stanford has accepted a full-time position with Franchise Equity Partners in New York City after completing his internship. Founded in 2021, it is a young company, which inspires Stanford.

“What is exciting is the opportunity to kind of get on the ground floor with people who are really successful in their field,” Stanford said. “I am excited to kind of work on different deals, build my Excel skills, build my PowerPoint skills and just actually kind of learn better what makes a great investment. The second thing is just the people. I loved being out there with them.”

Looking into the future, Stanford sees himself making a long-term career at Franchise Equity Partners. His two bosses, also the founders of the company, were previously partners with Goldman Sachs, a global investment bank, so he feels lucky to be surrounded by people who are great at what they do.

Stanford knows that being a KU student and a Jennett Finance Scholar gave him the best preparation he could have received for a job and interview help. Lecturer Dieter Schrader, who leads the Finance Scholars Program, was instrumental for Stanford during his job recruiting process.

“Dieter is just amazing,” Stanford said. “He is a great resource and is always willing to go out of his way to help anyone at KU, not just a Finance Scholar, but anyone at KU to recruit for jobs, and he is really excited about it too.”

Stanford is a firm believer that college is a great time to build up not only a resume but also personal experience. He believes getting involved in campus activities is equally as important as professional activities and everyone should make sure to prioritize their own growth and learning.

Looking back on his freshman year, Stanford wishes he knew how willing people were to help. He now understands the importance of networking and making sure to consistently follow up with people. He also looks back and remembers pieces of advice he wishes were given to him.

“Most people are either an email or LinkedIn message away. More often than not, they are willing to help you out because they have been in your shoes before. No experience is a bad experience. And if it is a bad experience, that’s great because now you know what you do not like to do,” he said.

Learn more about the Jennett Finance Scholars Program at

By Grace Ludes



KU School of Business

Stories about the students, alumni, faculty and staff of the University of Kansas School of Business.