United CFO to share advice

John Rainey
John Rainey

By Brooks Whitehurst

John Rainey, chief financial officer of United Airlines, is scheduled to share business insights with students today as part of the First Wednesday series hosted by the Hankamer School of Business’ professional development program.

Rainey said he plans to discuss changes in the airline industry that have progressed over the last two decades, how students can maximize their Baylor education and how to succeed in a future career.

The event will be at 5 p.m. in 510 Cashion Academic Center.

Rainey received his bachelor’s degree and master’s in business administration from Baylor in 1993 and 1995, respectively. He said that he hopes to show students what it takes to be successful.

“I want to convey to students that careers don’t just happen to people,” he said. “You have to go make them happen.”

Rainey said that with students’ lack of experience, it can be hard to know what success looks like, but that he hopes to give students a more realistic perspective.

“What it takes to be successful is very different than what is often portrayed,” Rainey said. “How you treat people has just as much to do with being successful as anything you’ll learn in a book.”

Houston junior Pearson Brown said that he’s excited to hear Rainey speak because he is an example of just how far a Baylor education can take someone.

“It’s really exciting because it shows that a Baylor education is limitless,” Brown said. “A Baylor education means that you can take your career all the way to the top.”

Brown is a member of the Hankamer School of Business professional development committee and extended the initial invitation to Rainey to have him come and speak.

“We were looking for someone who catered to all fields of business, someone who had a proven track record of success,” he said.

Brown said that he thinks Rainey will motivate students to take an active role in preparing themselves for a future career.

“Students are going to see ways to further themselves professionally,” Brown said. “They’ll also hear about motivating themselves for their careers and how to aim high early on.”

Rainey said that he will share experiences from his own life that shaped him into the businessman he is today, along with leadership principles that make for a successful college graduate.

“I was a regular kid from a rice farming community near Houston, and now I get to be the CFO of a fortune 100 company,” Rainey said. “I think there’s a recipe for success there.”