Kevin Ness ’24 | Broomfield, Colorado
Major: Finance

Born in Ohio and raised in Colorado, Kevin Ness ’24 moved to North Dakota to compete in junior hockey. That move was a step on the path that led him exactly where he is today, a senior at Concordia studying finance in the Offutt School of Business. Ness describes himself as competitive and growing in his faith, and he enjoys time reading, listening to music, and spending time with his family.

Ness’ uncle, a 1976 grad, spoke of Concordia often and wound up convincing Ness and his brother to attend. With family nearby and strong hockey recruitment, Ness said the decision just felt right.

“I mostly appreciate my teammates and just being able to play the game and, by extension, the ongoing support from former players, alumni, and the student body,” he says. “I have a lot of gratitude for being able to put on a Concordia jersey to represent our school, which is something pretty special.”

As president of the Entrepreneurship Club on campus and a member of the Scheel Investment Fund, Ness has had many unique experiences with these groups. Specifically, he helps with the Cobbertunity Fund, a fixed income portfolio started by student leaders in recent years that’s managed by the Scheel Fund. The proceeds from this fund go to student entrepreneurs at Concordia to help them start and grow their small businesses.

The Scheel Fund is what directed Ness’ interest to a finance degree. He knew he wanted to go into business but, after learning more about the finance program and the different opportunities available, in addition to finding friends in the program, he solidified his choice to study finance. He finds the OSB’s finance program challenging and insightful and, he says the fixed income and financial statement analysis courses are particularly enjoyable and foundational in his experience.

“The Offutt School is very personalized with an emphasis toward active participation,” Ness says. “You develop relationships with your professors who encourage you to ask questions and help you engage more with the material both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Hands-on experience outside the classroom opens even more doors. Ness was awarded a Barry Scholarship, an academic award given to only a few students each year. Students submit an essay and a research project proposal in hopes that they will be selected as a Barry Scholar and given the opportunity to conduct their research. Ness’ research looks into factors that affect successes and failures in the entrepreneurial world. He’s been interviewing various business owners in the area using concepts from the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins as a guide. He hopes his research will help future Concordia students navigate entrepreneurship and deepen their understanding of it.

Ness has also completed a PEAK opportunity with the Mayo Innovation Scholars Program, which he describes as “an opportunity to engage in the business development processes of a new medical innovation, broadening interdisciplinary learning by exploring innovations at the intersection of science, business, medicine, and entrepreneurship.”

It was a challenging yet rewarding experience where I learned more about myself. 

“It was a challenging yet rewarding experience where I learned more about myself, how to work better in a professional setting with others, and the iterative process of formulating a pitch recommendation, along with a comprehensive business plan and financial supplementation derived from market research,” he says.

Ness’ postgraduation plans include joining PNC Financial Services in August 2024 to be a part of a three-year Corporate and Institutional Banking Business Credit Asset-Based Lending Development Program. The program is “designed to build a solid foundation in credit analysis with rotations in field examinations, underwriting, and relationship management,” he says. Ness believes this will be a strong start to his career and something to look forward to as he completes his last semester before graduating in May.

With his involvement on campus and the opportunities to explore areas outside his area of study, Ness is confident that Concordia has equipped him to succeed beyond college as he navigates his finance career. He appreciates that, as a liberal arts institution, Concordia has given him the space to expand his education beyond finance and expand his worldview. He finds his experience here transformative in a way that will help him beyond his career goals but also in tackling challenges in life. He values the “virtuous ethic, entrepreneurial spirit, and unfettered faith” that he believes Concordia teaches well, and the sense of belonging he has felt being part of the Cobber community. His advice for incoming students?

“Consider coming to Concordia seeking an education rather than a degree. Much of what you will find in this education will be what guides you forward in your life,” he says. “We are all fallible, prideful and, at times, more arrogant than we’d like to admit. If you lean into this education, wherever you are in your journey, Concordia has proven to be a place for grace and a place to begin anew while growing into the person you were meant to be. Soli Deo Gloria.”

Published April 2024