The University of Georgia
Kinsman, Samuel

UGA's Amazing Students

Samuel Kinsman

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December 14, 2014

Samuel Kinsman, who is graduating this month with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, has worked—and played—hard, studied abroad, tackled internships and served as president of the Corsair Society. His next stop: Wall Street … after one more trip to Europe.

Expected graduation:

Fall 2014

Degree objective:

BBA in finance

University highlights, achievements and awards:

During my first semester on campus (as a history major), I decided in my Myers Hall dorm one day on the brilliant idea to open an online investment account and invest some of my savings from high school jobs I had before coming to UGA. Convinced that this would be very profitable and pay for all the adventures I had in mind, I opted for a simple one-month investment (four-week U.S. treasury bills) and was so excited that my friends I told even began signing up for their own accounts. Unfortunately, after four weeks, I realized I had miscalculated a few zeros in my spreadsheet and received my money back with just a few pennies of interest to show for it—not the best start!

Although this “investment” was horribly unsuccessful, it sparked my interest (pun intended) in finance and markets and led me to declare a finance major in the spring of my first year.

To take advantage of my summer after my freshman year, I left Athens after final exams to study abroad in Europe for three months: first in Cádiz, Spain, as part of the UGA en España program and then on my own in London at the London School of Economics. My time in Spain was enough to teach me what it felt like to learn another language—and to feel the thrill of being understood by natives when I spoke to them in Spanish. In London, I took a “Negotiations Theory” course and met classmates from countries around the world—many who are still my close friends and traveling buddies today.

Back in Athens for my sophomore year, I decided it couldn’t be too early to start building my business experience and convinced Frisch Capital Partners, a boutique investment bank, to hire me as an intern before my first accounting class. This experience led me to New York where I worked during my second summer as an intern in the New York State Unified Court System (writing briefs for a murder trial and an insider trading trial) and then as an intern at the credit rating agency Moody’s Investors Service. The finance work (analyzing the credit-worthiness of distressed or “high-yield” companies in a variety of industries) and the summer I spent exploring New York with my big sister Mollie convinced me I wanted to return there after graduation.

At the start of my junior year, I joined Corsair Society, an outstanding student-led group with a track record of training top UGA students for investment banking careers on Wall Street. In the group, Corsair Society seniors (who have interned and accepted investment banking jobs in New York) are the ones responsible for preparing and mentoring younger students during their junior year recruiting season and connecting them to the more than 200 active Corsair alumni on Wall Street. This program has shaped my experience and trajectory more than any other involvement I have had as a student and I am proud today to be president of Corsair and the mentor of the newest class of 24 Corsair juniors.

Other significant parts of my UGA experience include spending a year abroad in Brazil studying Portuguese and working in São Paulo as a UGA Portuguese Flagship Scholar, leading overnight outdoor trips and teaching outdoor skills clinics (including the now famous unicycle clinic) for four years as a student employee of UGA Outdoor Recreation, writing articles for the Georgia Political Review, spending the weekend with former Coca Cola Co. CEO Doug Ivester at his plantation as a Terry College of Business Deer Run Fellow, and learning more than I ever knew possible about myself and leadership as a Fellow in the Institute for Leadership Advancement.

I will forever be grateful to my family, professors and mentors, the Honors Program, and all of my friends who supported me and my crazy ideas to make my dreams happen over the last four years. I am proud to be graduating with new skills, a 4.0 GPA, genuine lifelong friends and experiences I’ll never forget.

Hometown:

Woodstock, Ga.

High School:

Etowah High School

Current Employment:

—Senior trip leader, UGA Outdoor Recreation
—Rising investment banking analyst, Goldman Sachs

Family Ties to UGA:

I am the third in my family to attend UGA. I am lucky to have two fantastic older sisters who came to UGA before me and introduced me to Athens and life as a Bulldog.

I chose to attend UGA because...

… the options and the affordability. At 18, I knew I wanted to do big things and study at a great university (I considered several other public and private universities around the country), but had no idea where I wanted to channel that energy.

I arrived at UGA as an Honors student and a history major with no concrete ideas for my future other than to avoid medical school (I am a bit squeamish around blood) and that I wanted to learn another language.

Four years later, I have switched majors multiple times, had four business internships, have studied three foreign languages in four different countries, and am graduating with a business degree (finance)—all with no student loans thanks to in-state tuition costs and scholarship funding. I wouldn’t change my decision at all to come to Georgia.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

… run into friends and meet new ones. As you move around campus, join groups and attend events, it is inevitable that you will meet fantastic new people at UGA. Hearing about the best part of a friend’s day, his or her accepted job offer or recent study abroad trip makes my day and always gives me new ideas for my own future plans.

For me, spending time in the dining halls, Moore College, the library or the Outdoor Recreation Center at Ramsey almost guarantees running into a familiar friendly face.

When I have free time, I like...

… to ride my bike (or unicycle). I love riding to class, mountain biking at Lake Herrick, and more recently doing longer, multi-day rides (bike touring). There’s just something fun about realizing how fast and far you can go powered by your own two legs.

Of course there is plenty to do in Athens. During the week you can find me playing ultimate Frisbee with my intramural team, swing dancing with the UGA Ballroom Performance Group, and notoriously falling asleep early during impromptu movie and board game nights with friends.  On the weekends, I will usually be hiking, cheering on the Dawgs in Sanford Stadium or using the library to study and plan my next adventure.

The craziest thing I've done is...

… play for Brazil in the 2013 Pan-American Ultimate Frisbee Championship. At the time, I was living in Brazil, which qualified me to train with the team and play with them in the international tournament. I will never forget playing with guys from all over Brazil against Chile, Venezuela, Argentina, and watching the U.S. team win the championship in the finals.

Close runners-up include riding my bike with friends 300 miles from Athens to Jacksonville, Florida, for the Georgia-Florida game, finishing the Rio de Janeiro International Marathon, taking a boat across the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain to Morocco, and sleeping in a chair in my sister’s studio apartment for three months during a summer internship in New York.

My favorite place to study is...

… the main library on North Campus. I like the new Library Café for group projects and meeting with friends and stick to the computer area when I want to spread out and get down to business.

My favorite professor is...

… Jeff Netter, head of the finance department. Although I have a long list of excellent professors who taught me at UGA—including Robert Moser (Portuguese), Marisa Pagnattaro (legal studies), Vikki Clawson (leadership) and Chris Hanks (entrepreneurship)—Dr. Netter stands out as a mentor who has known me since my first days on campus. He is a brilliant researcher, engaged teacher, and despite his responsibilities as department head, he has taken the time to get to know me and help me make important decisions I faced at different points as a student.

I would also be extremely remiss if I didn’t list Mark Laplante, who has sadly moved on from UGA since I took his “Introduction to Financial Management” class. It was his energy, passion for finance and amazing ability to captivate a classroom that ignited my interest in the field. Anyone who sees him in the classroom for five minutes would understand why he has inspired so many people to be better versions of themselves.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...

… Warren Buffett. He is most known for being one of the world’s richest individuals, but he is much more complex than that. I first learned more about Buffet’s view of the world by reading his famous annual letters he writes to his shareholders—a crash course in investing and business. Since then, I have loved his sharp wit and have found his advice for life some of the most helpful guidance that exists when thinking about the future and the meaning of happiness, money and success.

I realized a dream this year with three UGA friends who drove 18 hours with me from Athens to Omaha, Nebraska, to see Warren Buffet speak at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. Buying one share of Class B company stock gave us the right to attend the meeting and run the “Invest in Yourself” shareholder 5K the next day where we just missed giving Warren a high five!

If I knew I could not fail, I would...

… compete in the Olympics, especially in the cycling events. To me, the Olympics are one of the coolest things that humanity does and I would want to be there to compete alongside the best athletes in the world.

I am currently planning my adventure back to Brazil for the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Summer Olympic Games—it may include taking a sailboat from Florida to South America.

After graduation, I plan to...

… begin my career as an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York … after an exciting six-month stint studying French at a university in Strasbourg, France, and a six-week bike tour across Europe.

For my first two years as an analyst in New York, I will be focused on natural resources sector mergers and acquisitions and hope to gain experience with renewable energy development and cross-border deals. After that, I see myself transferring abroad to work and ultimately focusing my efforts on building a business that I am passionate about. I started my first business in March this year and have since caught the bug to tackle problems with entrepreneurship.

I am excited to see what happens. I have learned enough in the last four years to know that doors I can never imagine today will open if I stay open-minded and curious.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...

… the “Snowpocalypse of 2011” during my freshman year. When the roads iced and classes were canceled, the entire freshman class came outside to play in the snow together for a week.

I helped build the largest snow fort I’ve ever seen on Myers Quad, fought in multiple 100-plus-person snowball wars, and used Baxter Street hill and anything we could find (lids, trays, kayaks) for some incredible sledding on the snow.