From shoeshine to future financial advisor and beyond

By Jared Scali
On April 17, 2012

  • As an unemployed UNH grad, I would hope that the legislature connects the $50 million to empployment levels. UNH continues to crank out business students with no prospect for employment north of $10 an hour, this issue needs to be addressed. Anonymous


When senior Colin Kelley was entering high school, his mom found him an unusual job. She tipped him off on a shoe shining position at Fisher Scientific, a research company, where she worked.

On his first day, he walked in with only the expectation of making money for shining some executive's shoes. For a while, he did not see it as more than a way to make some cash, but after conversing more with the businessmen, he saw the job as a possible chance to network.

"The money was good," Kelley said. "I stayed with it all four years of high school. It really opened my eyes to corporate America. They all really mentored me well."

Kelley used the advice from all the executives he met at Fisher, in combination with his University of New Hampshire education, to get to the point he is at today. He saw that job as a chance to get a head start.

"They didn't come to me. I had to go to them in their offices," Kelley said. "This being the case, I tended to, shine mostly the higher executives shoes than anyone else."

Kelley recieved advice from the executives who got a shoeshine nearly every day. Kelley saw the ins-and-outs of being a top executive during his time at Fisher Scientific, and according to Kelley, the executives talked to him about deals while getting a fresh shine. Kelley said he just kept at work and listened intently. 

As a finance and international affairs dual major at UNH, Kelley has done many things to boost his resume. A major activity for him was joining the Whittemore School of Business and Economics' student-run Atkins Investment Group (AIG). 

According to information on the Whittemore School of Business and Economics website, AIG is a student-run organization that is open to students in all majors at UNH and provides students with the chance to learn about the world of investing.

"I feel the Atkins group has taught me a lot about my career and life," Kelley said. "Most of my closest friends come from Atkins."

The Atkins group has done a lot over the course of its existence, but Kelley said that doubling the fund of the Atkins group was probably his best accomplishment.

"Last year, when I was portfolio manager, we increased the private funding by 100 percent," Kelley said. "Completing this gave more students the chance to enjoy the experience of the Atkins group." 

With great success comes a great future, and Kelley said he has received many offers from potential employers, and has interviewed at many more. He decided on a future home based on the comfort and feel at the company, he said. 

"I've interviewed through four or five different places," Kelley said. "I've got a few different offers, but the one I'm going to take is Prime Buchholz at their office in Portsmouth."

Kelley received interviews through many of the executives he has kept in touch with from Fisher, since their closing in November 2006. Kelley said that he has many people to thank for his success in life to this point.

With these high-end executives as mentors, Kelley is well on his way to a bright future at Prime Buchholz, and possibly further on. He knows that Fisher was where he started building his future. But he said he has no one to thank more than his mother. 

"Both my mom and my dad always have been on top of me for my school," Kelley said. "They are extremely supportive and I am extremely close to them and my brother, too."

Kelley currently lives with his younger brother Robert on campus. After graduation, Kelley plans on going to work as soon as possible while working to become a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) to participate in the three-year program.

"Right after graduation I'm going to start studying for the CFA test in December," Kelley said. "Prime is going to be the best fit where I can go to work and do this at the same time." 

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