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        MBA Programs, Student Spotlight

        MBA Student Kinnane earns SEC scholar-athlete of the year award

        January 2, 2024 By Alice Manning Touchette

        All News



        Going the distance for a big payoff is Ryan Kinnane’s M.O.

        Ryan Kinnase Portrait

        Ryan Kinnane was named the SEC’s Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row.

        Following an impressive running undergraduate career with the Auburn men’s cross country team and completing his degree in aviation and a minor in business, Kinnane earned a spot in the Harbert College of Business online master of business administration program and another year competing in the Southeastern Conference. 

        This past fall, he was named the SEC’s Men’s Cross Country Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row. He joins fellow alumnus Ty McCorack as the only Auburn cross country student-athletes to receive the award. The award is one of a slew of awards recognizing Kinnane’s academic dedication: he also was awarded SEC Runner of the Week, Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll, Fall SEC Academic Honor Roll and was the first Auburn men's cross country athlete to win U. S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national athlete of the week honors. 

        “I originally came to Auburn because it was SEC, Division I in cross country and had a great aviation program,” Kinnane said. “Once I got my minor in business, I realized it made sense to stick around and get my MBA and finish my running career here.”

        Originally from Wichita, Kansas, Kinnane grew up an Auburn fan and was excited to compete for the school in college.

        “Coming to the SEC is a whole different ball game from cross country competition in high school. The SEC brings international talent on a lot of teams, and it took a long time for me to be able to really compete against most of the conference,” he said. “My freshman year, we were 12th as a team. The next year, we finished 10th. Last year, we were seventh, and this year we’re ranked fifth.

        “We've improved as a team every single year I've been here and helped build up the distance program. It's been a really, really cool career, honestly.” 

        The cross country team has given Kinnane a chance to grow into a leader, helping his teammates improve and lead the way as a student-athlete, showing that studying hard and training hard go hand-in-hand. While his running career is coming to a close, Kinnane is hoping to couple his aviation degree with his MBA to work in the airline industry. 

        “I have my private pilot’s license and enjoy flying, but I want my MBA as an option to move to the commercial side of aviation — whether I move into the private charter space or manage the business side of the industry,” he said.

        To other scholar-athletes considering Auburn and the Harbert College of Business, Kinnane offers this advice: “There are some sacrifices with free time, but it’s definitely worth it. I’ve enjoyed my classes more this semester, even though the workload is harder, and I love Auburn. Being in this city, being an Auburn fan, being a part of this team, it’s definitely paid off down the line.”


        The Harbert College of Business which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Raymond and Kathryn Harbert's transformational naming gift, is a nationally ranked hub of undergraduate, graduate and continuing business education that is inspiring the next generation of business leaders. Our world-class faculty deliver unparalleled academic rigor in the classroom, while our research-driven scholarship advances thought leadership and best practice across business disciplines. The largest college on Auburn's campus, Harbert enrolls more than 6,900 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.