By Mary Frances Broadhead
In 1997, Matt Gentry came on a fluke visit to Mississippi State University to help a good high school friend move into a dorm. When he left, Gentry had decided to enroll himself in the university as well.
“As my friend was getting situated in Suttle Hall, I wandered over to the geology department [Department of Geosciences]. There was a small museum over there, and I was looking at the displays when the department head, Dr. Wax, introduced himself,” Gentry said. “I started speaking with Dr. Wax, told him my story and my love for geology, and he suggested I enroll immediately as classes were starting in several days. I remember frantically trying to find someone to get me inoculated with the latest shots so I could get enrolled; luckily, I was successful.”
While recently visiting campus to give a lecture in the Department of Geosciences, Gentry gave students what he considers the most important piece of advice: “I told the students there will be moments in life where you will get lucky. It’s how you maximize your return on luck that will define your life.”
Since graduating from MSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in geosciences, Gentry has indeed maximized his return on luck.
After graduating from MSU, Gentry worked as a hydrogeologist in South Carolina for two years. He then went on to study petroleum geology at Texas A&M University. After graduate school, Shell Oil Company hired Gentry as an exploration geologist. Three years later, Gentry wanted to gain experience in a smaller company setting.
“Since then, I have been involved in all aspects within the oil and gas industry. With time came greater responsibility and increased exposure to the business side. This culminated in forming my own company, Monadnock Resources, in 2015 with a $100 million dollar commitment from a large private equity firm based in California,” said Gentry.
Gentry is quick to credit the College of Arts and Sciences for his critical thinking and problem solving skills. “If you are able to approach a problem in a logical, systematic manner you are one step ahead of most of the others, and the Mississippi State College of Arts and Sciences has certainly prepared me,” Gentry said.
Gentry encourages current MSU students to find what they are passionate about, jump all in, and go for it.
In his spare time, Gentry enjoys traveling, golfing, and being a dad to his one-year-old daughter, Ellery.
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