2019 Best & Brightest: Kyle Kingma, University of Miami

Kyle Kingma

University of Miami, School of Business Administration

I am comfortable being uncomfortable (except for the time I tore my pants before an interview).”

Fun fact about yourself: I worked at a non-profit abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I traveled 2 hours one-way to get to my office in the city.

Hometown: Spring Lake, Michigan

High School: Western Michigan Christian

Major: Economics, Finance

Minor: Spanish

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Bermont/Carlin Scholar in Finance
  • Secretary General -The Hyperion Council-for 16 months led organization of 20 undergraduate students to deliver consulting services to local and international micro enterprises and non-profits who are starting new ventures or need assistance in improving business strategies.
    • Produced business plan to support water conservation mission of local sustainable business in Lima, Peru
    • Utilized cross cultural skills to work with TECHO employees and volunteers from several nationalities in order to effectively organize information and help provide funding affordable housing projects in Argentina
  • Iron Arrow Honor Society – the highest Honor that can be conferred on a undergraduate at Miami
  • President of Student Alumni Ambassadors -led 35 students to promote philanthropy on campus contributing to $30,000 in scholarships. Selected as liaison between the student body and the University of Miami Alumni Board of Directors
  • Debate Team – The University of Miami-Treasurer

Where have you interned during your college career? (List Companies, Locations and Roles)

  • TECHO – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Volunteer and Participant
  • Mercantile Bank of Michigan – Grand Rapids, MI – Commercial Loan Clerk Intern
  • Citigroup Inc.– New, York – Capital Strategies Group Analyst Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? Citigroup Inc. – New York, NY – Treasury and Trade Solutions

What company do you admire most? I admire a non-profit called Techo, which works to build sustainable houses to better communities throughout Latin America. Beyond the incredible work that the organization does, what impresses me the most is the people who work in the offices and out in the neighborhoods that the organization serves. Comprised of mostly college students and unpaid volunteers, the company culture not only impacts the recipients of the houses, but also those students. It’s pretty normal for them to go to extreme measure to save every penny from salaries to put that money into the homes they build. Lastly, I admire that Techo because apart from interactions like dinner at the locals’ own homes and celebrations after a successful building trip, no matter the nationality of the person that works or volunteers for them, you feel as if you are part of the family forever.

What did you enjoy most about your business school? What I enjoy the most about the Miami Business School is its diversity. Being from a mostly white small town in West Michigan, I was able to meet friends from all over the world and many from Latin America in particular. This was the most valuable part of my education as I was able to learn about how life, and specifically business, is done differently throughout different countries. This allowed for me to hone in on my cultural intelligence skills, which was of the most value during my time working in Argentina, Peru, and with different nationalities in Miami. More importantly, this allowed me to have a greater appreciation for the complexities of culture, how it impacts business’ and people’s choices, which is something a textbook can never teach.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I have learned from studying business is the importance of leadership and problem solving. Having the opportunity to take many classes across many different disciplines of businesses, I learned how each area has its own specific lingo and knowledge and that is key to understanding its principles. However, regardless of the area of a business you are in, the ability to problem solve – and for those problem solvers to act as ethical and decisive leaders – is critical. What this has helped me gain is the insight that no matter where my career leads me in the future, being able to bring decisive and ethical leadership and problem solving to the table makes me valuable no matter my job description.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? My advice would be to align what you want to see in your future self with the skills you need and then choose the major. This is of the upmost importance because you can go any number of ways in an area. For example, in finance, you may want to go into investment backing. However, if you don’t have enough modelling or computer skills, you have to add those other quantitative skills to focus your choices to shape yourself into the person and for the career you want.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprised me the most is the need to be able to connect the different ideas and knowledge from all areas of business. Whether it is accounting in a finance course, or marketing in a consulting course, being able to bring together all the knowledge to address an issue or problem is of the upmost importance. I didn’t expect this to be so important as I believed that all areas would be separate from each other.

“If I didn’t major in business, I would be majoring in or studying…Engineering so that I could bring my desire to problem solve into my career.”

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My dad. He is a real estate agent, and he needs to use really strong interpersonal skills to be able to navigate the complexities of a deal, which is something I admired as a kid.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am proudest of being an inductee into Iron Arrow. The Honor Society recognizes my impact on all parts of our University, rather than just a particular college or student organization. It is one of the hardest accolades to earn, and requires a unanimous support of a former inductees who are faculty, students and administrators from the entire campus community.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire DJ Washington because he was a football player for the first two years of his undergraduate career, and he decided to strictly pursue his academic life at UM. His decision to leave a top tier football program had to be one of the hardest things because anyone who has been a student-athlete knows that it takes up a lot of time. DJ still has many friends on the team, but he found ways to be more engaged on campus and take on leadership positions, including running for President of Student Government

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would like to thank my Mom for my success. My mom is a teacher and she taught me at a young age the importance of education. However, going beyond that, she showed me that education isn’t just a way to do well in life, but that it is also a way to help others.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I would like to catch a Blue Marlin and also attend a National Championship for College Football where I would hopefully watch the Miami Hurricanes win.

What are your hobbies? My hobbies include fishing, boating, basketball, traveling, surfing, and college football. One of the reasons why Miami was a perfect for me was that I could work hard and still have time to indulge in some of my favorite things—deep sea fishing, travel and basketball. South Florida is world famous for its deep sea fishing, and to be able to go out with my dad or friends for just a weekend and be back in school on Monday was an amazing experience every time.

Most kids want to do Europe—I didn’t need that. I visited Patagonia and posted the UM Flag right on the Perito Moreno Glacier.

I am also 6’7”, and I knew I would not play basketball at the Division 1 level. There are lots of guys like me who love the game, and enjoy the competition of being on the court. At UM, I can still get a really competitive game, and then go off and do the other things that really matter to me.

What made Kyle such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

Kyle is an old spirit in that he is one of those people who says what he means and does what he says. No matter how difficult the task, if he commits to it, one can depend on the deliverable being executed to the highest order. He’s built a reputation among his peers, faculty and the administration as someone who operates with genuine strength of character and a firm ethical and moral compass. We, in undergraduate business, will feel a huge sense of loss when he crosses the stage this May.”

EllenMarie McPhillip
Assistant Dean, Undergraduate Business Education, MBS


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.