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Graduate Riley Kinser’s Experiential Learning, Honors Thesis Help Him Land a Dream Job

Riley Kinser kept himself more than busy in his time at Oregon State. Kinser was in the College of Business’ Honors program, took part in the Austin Entrepreneurship Program (where his team took first place in the Business Plan Competition), and served as the president of the Oregon State Investment Group (OSIG).

Even though graduation took place just over a week ago now, Kinser has already moved to the San Francisco Bay area where he’ll be working with Union Square Advisors, a middle-market investment bank that specializes in mergers and acquisition advice for tech companies. Kinser’s role as analyst will involve building presentations and financial models for clients. Kinser said that he was looking specifically for investment banks on the west coast that specialize in technology, which is how he ended up interning with Union Square Advisors in the summer of 2013.  After completing his internship, Kinser received an offer to come to work for the company full-time upon graduation.

“Nearly all of the people I know who had work right after graduation found their jobs because of an internship they did,” said Kinser. “It’s important to start doing internships as soon as possible, as the more experience you have, the easier it gets to land interviews in the future. Internships will also help you discover what you like and don’t like in a potential career,” he said.

Kinser’s completion of Oregon State’s Honors College program also helped prepare him for today’s competitive job market.

“My research thesis was brought up in almost every internship interview I’ve ever had, and I think it played a major role in differentiating me from other applicants,” said Kinser. “Writing my honors thesis was probably the most challenging thing I did in my entire college career, but I learned a lot doing it and had the opportunity to thoroughly explore a topic I found interesting. I think more business students should choose to join the Honors College,” he said.

Kinser’s thesis study looks at whether two characteristics — physical attractiveness and perceived competence — have an impact on financial analysts finding large discrepancies between current prices and target prices of investments. Kinser’s research paper presented some intriguing evidence that overconfidence in investment recommendations may be correlated with an individual’s physical appearance. This is an especially important finding because when investors behave irrationally and make financial mistakes, many theories point the blame squarely at that investor’s overconfidence.

“Using only physical appearance, individuals can form a variety of opinions of others ranging from how physically attractive someone is to how competent they anticipate them to be,” said Kinser. “These judgments we make of others likely play a subtle yet important role in how we interact with each other. If these subtle differences in how we interact with each other have a cumulative effect, it is possible we would see individuals who are perceived to be extremely attractive or extremely competent becoming overconfident in themselves,” he said.

Now that Kinser has moved on from Oregon State and is starting the next chapter of his professional life, he leaves future and current Oregon State students with this advice:

“My advice to everyone is to try something new and say yes to opportunities. When I was a freshman I moved dorms from Callahan to Weatherford during the second week of school. While visiting the Resident Director of Weatherford to finalize my move, I just happened to run into a College of Business staff member who asked me if I was there for the Austin Entrepreneurship Program meeting. I had no idea what that was but it sounded interesting. I’d never envisioned myself becoming an entrepreneur, but I thought it sounded like fun so I said yes and went into the meeting. I was lucky and got to join an amazing team and over the course of the year I had the opportunity to watch a company form from an idea. My team ultimately went on form a company, Rowan Greenhouse Technologies, and won first place in the Austin Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition. It was an amazing experience and it happened because I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and I decided to try something new. If you’re a new student, go check out some clubs and find something you like whether it be a business club or something else. The more involved you get, the more fulfilling your college experience will be.”

Story originally published here by the College of Business. 

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