Longhofer Guest Speaker
Luke Longhofer serving as Guest Speaker at WT

Luke Longhofer, Executive Vice President Lending 
First Financial Bankshares, Inc.

Luke Longhofer earned a BBA in Finance in 2004.  He worked as an intern for the FDIC before graduating and currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Lending for First Financial Bankshares Inc.  He was recognized as the 2016 College of Business Horizon Award as a distinguished young alumnus.  The following Questions & Answers offers his insight and perspective on several academic and professional issues.

What does your average workday entail?
I like to begin my day at 5 a.m. working emails and reviewing staff’s work product.  I work these early hours at home so I can be there when my kids get up for school.  An average work day is 12 hours long, in order to keep up with my responsibilities.  I travel often to oversee loan production at our numerous locations. On days that I work at the office, I usually spend 5 to 7 hours in meetings and conference calls.  I make sure that I walk through departments that I directly and indirectly manage to ensure the staff’s moral is high and that I am available to answer any questions.  No two days are the same for me and that is what I love about my profession.

Is this what you thought you would be doing when you were a student?
No, I have exceeded my own expectations.  I was an average student coming out of high school entering my college career.  I thought that when I graduated I was just looking to survive in the sense of making enough money to support my future family.  I certainly did not have the self-confidence to think that I could become someone successful in a decision making position. Success is defined differently for everyone, but for me it is being able to make a difference every day in a leadership position. I believe that my success is based on my ability to work extremely hard and to make good decisions in tough times.

How did your experience at WT prepare you for the real world and shape your career path?
There are many things in my WT career that helped me prepare for my profession, although I did not realize it at the time.  First, my education in Finance and Accounting was paramount to my career success.  I truly believe that my education gave me the foundation to have technical skills to perform my job.  Second, my fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order, helped me build the traits and personality needed in the business world. Also, I learned table etiquette, which I still use today at business lunches and dinners.   Lastly, my athletic involvement in the soccer program helped me value teamwork and leadership.

What advice/insight do you have for WT alumni and students interested in your career field?
The banking industry is entering a unique time in history given the forthcoming shortage of talented, experienced bankers. Banking is the heart of capitalism in our local communities.  Banking provides an amazing opportunity to be part of a community. I would suggest that anyone graduating with a business degree that has interest in being part of the success in our local communities should consider banking as a profession.

What’s one thing you would do differently in regards to your time at WT or your career?
I have to answer the question in two ways.  First, I would have taken more time to enjoy my college career.  In hindsight, I wish I would have trusted my abilities to know that I would find a way to be successful.  I was extremely worried about getting out of college as fast as possible and I wish I would have enjoyed more of the college experience.  Second, I completely underestimated the value of English and business writing.  I thought that being a business major afforded me the ability to give little to no value to those classes in high school and college.  Unfortunately, it has been my biggest challenge in my career.  I don’t believe that you can be a great leader without having strong communication skills.

What has been your biggest challenge, surprise, accomplishment?
I will focus on the surprise aspect and would say it would be my career thus far.  I was a kid from an average upbringing, with an average school education entering into college.  I didn’t have a great GPA, nor an impressive SAT/ACT scores.  I even had schools that told me that I would have to enter remedial courses prior to starting my college career.  Regardless of these unimpressive statistics, I have been able to accomplish success in my career.  I am far from the smartest person in the room, but I do believe that my desire to excel and work ethic has pushed me to overcome many obstacles. I have also been lucky to be mentored and guided by many outstanding people in my life.

Longhofer 1
Luke Longhofer (Center), Interviewing Students for Intern Positions with First Financial Bankshares, Inc.