Alumni Spotlight: Riley Kuranishi, Finance '14
Our most recent alumni highlight features Riley Kuranishi (Business Administration, Finance, ‘14). Riley currently works and manages multiple businesses including real estate, and a photo and videography company.
Educational Journey and Career
As a young college student, Riley Kuranishi set his sights on building his educational career on the Seattle campus. After encountering a few roadblocks, Riley wound up staying in Tacoma and decided to give the Milgard School of Business a try. He discovered class sizes that were small and faculty willing to give students more time and attention in the classroom and during office hours. While pursuing a Finance major at Milgard, Riley recalls some of his general business classes outside of his major being the most impactful: “The faculty were really knowledgeable, and it was nice getting to see different teaching styles up close.”
While studying at Milgard, Riley had the opportunity to cross-enroll in a 2-quarter long entrepreneurship class up on the UW Seattle campus. During this experience, something clicked, and Riley’s entrepreneurial journey began. He found that he loved to innovate and find ways to grow ideas into scalable businesses. While taking these entrepreneurship classes, he found himself asking: “Is this what doing what you love feels like?”
After graduating in 2014, Riley followed the path aligned with his major and began working at his first job in finance. At the same time, he bought his first house and turned it into a rental property. After a few months, he found himself feeling unfulfilled by his job which triggered him to take on a new role processing home loans. He liked that this new position was fast-paced, client-facing and on-the-go, unlike the desk job he had left behind. When this position was eliminated about a year later, Riley leaned more heavily into the entrepreneurial spirit that was sparked during the classes his senior year and he began focusing more on propelling several side businesses forward, including an e-commerce business, a photography company, and a venture remodeling high-end homes. Fast forward to 2022, Riley now works and manages a team as a Realtor for Compass Real Estate in Seattle. This position allows him to utilize the knowledge he’s accumulated about the real estate industry while affording him the flexibility to continue to further his own entrepreneurial pursuits.
Advice for Future Students
When asked to give his advice for current students, Riley urges them to keep an open mind during college and be willing to branch out beyond their major. As a college student, Riley remained steadfastly focused on his Finance major because he didn’t want to appear to lack direction. Set on his goal to complete the required courses, he reflects that he was simply going through the motions of his major and wasn’t keeping his eyes open for new opportunities along the way. After serendipitously landing in an Entrepreneurship class in his senior year, he discovered a deep interest and passion in a field he had never before considered. By trying something new and keeping an open mind, Riley gained new perspective that has influenced the trajectory and success of his career.