By John Krenger
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
“There are more than 380,000 student-athletes and most of them go pro in something other than sports.” - National Collegiate Athletics Association
Kansas junior Meghan Gockel is one of the Big 12’s student-athletes that exemplifies that phrase.
A two-time National Golf Coaches Association All-America Scholar, Gockel recently had success on the green after winning the Duramed Collegiate Invitational in Rio Verde, Ariz.
Gockel is one of the nation’s top golfers after she was recently named GolfWorld magazine’s College Player of the Week (March 2-8). During that week, she finished with the top individual score of 218 at the Duramed Collegiate Invite to lead Kansas to the tournament championship.
“It was a great honor,” said Gockel in response to receiving the GolfWorld award. “I wasn’t expecting it. I won the previous tournament and I was still excited about that and to get player of the week was just a bonus on top of that.”
Gockel’s scores have consistently improved thanks to an exceptional drive that has been noticed by Kansas head coach Erin O’Neil.
“Meghan is usually the first one to the course and the last to leave,” said O’Neil. “She is very driven on the golf course and in the classroom. She is a true team player who puts her heart and soul into everything whether it is during workouts, playing, practicing extra or studying. Meghan strives for excellence each day.”
That drive has spilled over into the classroom for Gockel, where she is double-majoring in accounting and finance. She originally sought only an accounting degree, but wanted to challenge herself further academically. As a finance major, Meghan applied for and received admission to an exclusive academic program called the Finance Scholars Program.
The two-year old Finance Scholars Program’s stated goal is to “provide high potential students majoring in finance with access to alumni, information about various finance career tracks, comprehensive career preparation, and industry knowledge to effectively pursue challenging finance careers.” In return for placing students with first tier financial institutions, the Kansas Business School hopes to improve the reputation of the KU Finance Program and recruit more students to the Business School.
Gockel is one of just 18 students selected for the program this academic school year, and is the first KU student-athlete ever selected for the program.
“It is definitely one of the best things that I’ve done in school,” said Gockel. “It has been very helpful to act as a guide for preparing for careers in finance. We’ve gotten our resumes ready and practiced our interviewing skills. We also have learned what investment banking and the people out in the field actually do.”
Despite the program being its infancy, major successes have already been achieved. Gockel and the other scholars recently went on a class trip to spend a day with the one of the world’s most respected investors, Warren Buffett.
The advice that stood out to Gockel the most from her time with the Omaha Oracle was to invest in a circle of competence.
“He said to invest in what you know and to not go outside of your comfort zone. The most important thing to know is your own boundaries of knowledge. It was one of the best experiences that I’ve ever had,” she recalled.
Luckily for Gockel, her circle of competence extends past the classroom, and onto the golf course. But when asked whether she would rather go pro and join the LPGA tour or start a career on Wall Street, there was conviction instead of hesitation.
“I would go to Wall Street. Oh, yes.”