2017 Best & Brightest: Riley Owens, Purdue University (Krannert)

Riley Owens

Purdue University, Krannert School of Management

“Hardworking, fun-loving, injury-prone individual who goes the extra mile to make people smile.”

Fun fact about yourself: I am an aspiring cake decorator and have made cakes in the shape of castles, cars, and the Purdue Block P.

Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado

High School: Rocky Mountain High School

Major: Finance and Economics

Favorite Business Courses: Money and Banking

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College: Purdue Financial Management Association two-term president; Boiler Business Competitions founding member and former treasurer; ODIN Investment club; Westminster Retirement Community volunteer; 18-time case competition participant; tutor; campus tour guide

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • Cummins: Off-Highway Finance Analyst, Summer 2015, Columbus, Indiana
  • SC Johnson: Financial Planning and Analysis Intern North American Region, Summer 2016, Racine, Wisconsin

Describe your dream Job: I would like to work in a small-to-mid-size consulting firm on mergers and acquisitions or strategic management. I would like to work in an environment where I have ownership over my work and can bring in creative thinking to solve business issues.

Who is your favorite professor? Carol Jacobson—she continually challenges me in every course and encourages me to pursue a wide range of extracurricular activities, from case competitions to study abroad opportunities. She is one of my strongest supporters and I know I can always count on her to provide me with good, honest advice.

Which executive or entrepreneur do you most admire? Warren Buffett — he started investing from an early age and spends money very wisely. Even with his fortune, he lives a very simple life and does not ever try to flaunt his success.

What did you enjoy most about majoring in a business-related field? I like that I can see connections to real-world problems from my class work. It makes classes much more relatable and encourages you to try to learn the material rather than just memorize it.

Where would you like to work after graduation? HealthScape Advisors, management consultant

What are your long-term professional goals? I would like to work in consulting for a few years and return to school to get an MBA. After getting a MBA, I may return to the consulting field or go to a different industry, but long-term I’d like to start up a private equity fund.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Stay up to date on current events through channels such as the Financial Times or Wall Street Journal, join clubs and take advantage of networking opportunities, stay in touch with professionals you meet and take an interest in their careers, and get to know your professors.

“I knew I wanted to major in business when…my dad asked me what I wanted to do during the 2008 financial crisis. I saw on the news that everyone was losing their jobs except finance people. I didn’t know what I wanted to do at the time but I knew I wanted a job so I pursued business.”

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be…a chemistry student trying to be like Bill Nye.”

“Before I entered business school, I wish I had known…that it’s okay to ask for help. Nobody will think down on you because you can’t do everything on your own.”

What was the happiest moment of your life? The summer after my freshman year, I went on a study abroad trip to Siena, Italy. During the month-and-a-half I was there, my best friend and I traveled all over the country. My favorite place we went was Cinque Terre. We hiked and camped and ate the best seafood I’ve ever had. I have never felt more at peace than I did in Cinque Terre, which is why it is one of my happiest moments in life.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? After taking over presidency of the finance club, I was able to double the membership of the club through new partnerships and events and creative marketing.

What animal would you choose to represent your professional brand? An otter. They can work in teams or by themselves; are incredibly resourceful and innovative; they can use resources around them to create tools to help them; and they are incredibly cute and fun-loving.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My brother — he has never stopped pushing me to do better than he did or than I think I can do on my own. He always encourages me to do what makes me happy but wants me to push myself and not limit my abilities.

What would you like your business school peers to say about you after you graduate from this program? I’d like to be remembered for always taking on challenges with a positive, can-do attitude. I want to be remembered as someone who always embraced difficult times and remained calm and collected when faced with adversity.

Favorite book: Freakonomics

Favorite movie: Any of the “Star Wars” movies

Favorite musical performer: Ke$ha

Favorite vacation spot: Cinque Terre, Italy

What are your hobbies? Reading, exercise, going on trips to cities, wandering through national parks

What made Riley such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2017?

“Riley Owens is an energetic senior who takes a lead in engaging students in signature learning opportunities outside of the classroom, including case competitions. Prior to May graduation, Riley will have competed in 17 case competitions.  On his teams, he has a reputation as being an analytical and results-focused leader with expertise in finance.

At Krannert, Riley collaborates with his peers and multiple partners to strengthen and grow participation in the case competition community. He and other leaders collaborated with multiple partners to create 1,000 hours of research and case analysis practice for the fall semester. In conjunction with the case practice, the participants donated more than 190 hours to provide support to two Indiana-based nonprofits.

Riley has participated on numerous teams through his active membership in organizations and clubs. While serving in a leadership role with the finance club, he baked 45 cakes to serve at club events. The cake project helped the club increase attendance at programs and grow membership.

Riley’s Boilermaker spirit shines in a photo stretched across a city bus to promote the university. He has served as a Purdue Ambassador, providing tours for over 750 prospective students and families.

Riley Owens is a remarkable and mature student who has contributed much to the Krannert and Purdue culture through his leadership and actions. He has utilized his innovative and resourceful leadership style to engage multiple students into new learning opportunities. Riley and his colleagues in the case community have worked collectively to broaden real-life learning opportunities for themselves, others and future Boilermakers.”

Melissa Evens
Director of the Leadership Communication Studio and Undergraduate Scholarships
Purdue University, Krannert School of Management