No More Risky Business

Put a pair of dark shades on Kyle Covington ‘15 and he is practically a ringer for Joel Goodsen, the budding if misguided entrepreneur made famous by a then young Tom Cruise in the film “Risky Business.” While the well-spoken Covington would cringe at the comparison and blush at the thought of sliding across the hallway in his skivvies (the oft-replayed scene from the movie), the go-getter in him knows the similarity is spot on.

A self-starter who is into “everything business,” Covington hails from West Grove, Pa., and is majoring in accounting and business management at Alvernia. He loves his field of study and its entrepreneurial spirit. But he especially likes understanding what makes complicated business operations tick and entertains visions of greatness in his future.

“Being chief operations officer at Delta Airlines would be great, because there are so many puzzle pieces that are constantly shifting and moving,” imagines Covington out loud. “I want to be able to figure out the puzzle.”

Which is why after working for Giant Foods for three years, he arranged to take a sophomore year summer internship at the organization. “It was a great opportunity, because food stores are big (logistical) operations. I was able to tailor my experience to get a clear picture of the whole organization.”

Though he’s interested in logistics and operations, his focus is now clearly on finance and banking, something honed in the real world last summer through an extremely competitive internship at Wells Fargo in commercial banking.

Never one to sit still, Covington is studying in the nation’s capitol this fall, thanks to Alvernia’s Washington Center program. “I’ll be focusing on risk management and governmental compliance, with an emphasis on international trade and global business,” he said. “I plan on interning at a governmental organization like the treasury department or the international trade commission.”

After graduation, Covington is happy to go wherever the job calls — even into the global marketplace. Since he wasn’t able to fit a semester-long study abroad trip into his ambitious plans, Covington jumped at the chance to be a two-week Alvernia ambassador to China over last summer, networking with other schools and learning about the global marketplace.

And when he returned, he brought back ideas to share with the Business Advisory Council, on which he is an active member. “Things in business are going international, so we need to teach people how to compete and interact globally,” he explained.

In addition to serving on the council, Covington is an active member of the Institute for Management Accountants, the Society for Human Resource Management, Delta Mu Delta and Phi Beta Lambda — for which he serves as president.

“Through these organizations, I go to a lot of professional networking meetings where we talk about current issues that will be important after graduation,” he says. Last year, Covington placed third in a marketing competition for the Phi Beta Lambda state conference, and he hopes to compete in a different area when the competition comes around again next year.

An honors student and Peer Mentor (who works with the freshmen honor class), Covington has even had a hand in sustainability efforts at Alvernia. He was part of an effort to bring special water bottle fountains to construction projects on campus, and is proud of his work to get recycling bins in all areas of the O’Pake Center.

Once his work with that project was completed, he handed it over to the Environmental Club and turned his attention elsewhere — like tax preparation for senior citizens at Berks Encore, as part of a class taught by Dr. Mary Ellen Wells.

“That was a great way for me to give back to the community,” says Covington. “Alvernia’s commitment to community service was one of the reasons I picked the university, and the Berks Encore tax project was a way for me to do it with something I do best. It was revolutionary for me because I didn’t see community service as something like that — something that wasn’t cleaning up a park or roadside.”

Though he originally considered attending Bucknell and Lehigh Universities, Covington immediately found his home at Alvernia during his first visit and never looked back.

“I was really impressed by how welcoming everyone was,” he explained. And he certainly models the university’s “do well and do good” mantra. As President Flynn would say, students like Covington are “why we do what we do.”