Luke Taplin ’20 grew up playing tennis in Auckland, New Zealand. In fact, it’s the sport that brought Luke to the States after he was recruited to play it at St. Thomas Aquinas College.
“The thing I love about the game is the fact that it is something that can’t be faked, there must be a certain amount of time and effort put into learning the game, and once you’ve gotten to a certain skill level, that skill is with you for life,” he explains. Inspired by his tennis-playing parents, Luke spent much of his childhood at the tennis club and began learning the sport when he was four years old. By the time he turned nine, he was competing.
At STAC, Luke studied finance with plans to blend his interests in business and tennis into a future career. As a student, he’s been getting some solid experience in that arena and learning different aspects of the business through summer internships at Cliff Drysdale Tennis Management in Southampton, New York. “Each summer, I focused on a different area — management, marketing, and sports management,” he says, adding that he also built up his own small business teaching tennis. “I would give private and group club and home lessons with a clientele I developed over the three summers.”
One thing that helped Luke adjust to his new home in New York was getting involved on campus, something he encourages all students to do as soon as they arrive. Besides his role as co-captain of the men’s tennis team, he is involved on the Executive Board of the Business Club as treasurer, serves as president of the international business honor society, Delta Mu Delta, and participated in the College Fed Challenge. He’s also Bloomberg-certified and the recipient of the Academic Achievement Award from the DII Athletics Directors Association.
What’s the biggest difference between New York and Auckland? “Everyone in New York moves at 100 miles per hour, all the time!” Luke jokes. “STAC made things easier because of its small size and location which means the minor culture shock that I experienced from leaving home was largely nullified. The small community culture is something that has really made STAC feel like home to me. It’s something I’m extremely thankful for.”
In his free time, Luke likes working out, reading, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts, a pastime he says he’s become addicted to. Among his favorites are the Joe Rogan Podcast, Pivot, Masters in Business, and Making Sense with Sam Harris.