Red Fox Spotlight: David Cantu ’19
October 1, 2018 — So how does a kid from Monterrey, Mexico end up at Marist? In the case of David Cantu, who moved to Davie, Florida at age 14, it was a combination of factors. “I was a swimmer in high school, and I wanted to continue that in college, so when Marist came up in my search results, I decided to check it out. Also, I was really interested in going to a business school in the Northeast.” Cantu has had the opportunity to do that and more, excelling in his studies and preparing for a future career in finance.
Cantu has always been interested in finance, and he’s getting great training in Marist’s School of Management, where he majors in business administration with concentrations in finance and entrepreneurship. Currently in Professor of Strategy Helen Rothberg’s capping class, Cantu and his teammates have the task of analyzing Starbucks and developing a strategic plan to make it more competitive; his role on the team is financial analysis. He’s also had valuable real-world experience, having interned in Monterrey over the summer for Foster Hill Capital Management LLC, a private alternative capital firm. Cantu also makes use of the College’s Student Investment Center, which comes equipped with numerous Bloomberg terminals.
Cantu speaks highly of his Marist professors and vice versa. As he notes, faculty members like Dr. Rothberg and Assistant Professor of Management Melinda Weisberg “are incredibly knowledgeable and always there to offer me support.” Dr. Weisberg returns the compliment, describing Cantu as “very smart, very level-headed, and very committed.” Dr. Rothberg agrees and adds that he is “very resourceful and willing to dive right in and start thinking,” even when given a one-day pass because he joined the class late. While his passion is finance, Cantu also greatly appreciates Marist’s liberal arts core, which has rounded out his education nicely and expanded his knowledge.
Swimming has been a big part of Cantu’s life at Marist. Apart from being named twice to the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) All-Academic Team, he has developed as an athlete, winning the 200-yard individual medley at Rider University his freshman year and obtaining a medal in the 400-yard individual medley in the MAAC his sophomore year. He gives credit to Larry VanWagner, the College’s longtime men’s and women’s swim coach, for being a terrific mentor. He also credits swimming (for which he has to get up very early in the morning) with teaching him discipline, time management, and accountability. Through athletics, Cantu has also had the chance to connect with other international students at Marist, including several like him who are from Latin America by way of Florida. He also notes, “I had the chance to spend spring break with a friend from Denmark and his family. I never would have had that opportunity if it weren’t for Marist. It’s good to get out of your comfort zone.”
After graduation, Cantu is hoping to land his dream job at JPMorgan Chase working in wealth management. After that, he dreams of someday starting a firm that helps Latin American clients invest in the United States. And speaking of ties between Latin America and the US, Cantu and his three siblings recently went together to take their US citizenship test. When they all passed, they were able to take the oath of citizenship the very same day. He says, “We were so happy to share this milestone together. Being an immigrant, sometimes I feel that I don’t quite belong in either Mexico or the US, but I guess the better way to look at it is that I have the best of both worlds.”