Geoff Cardner graduated from UNH in 1993 with a BS in Business Administration (Honors-in-Major) and Economics. He has an MBA from Babson College and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. Geoff has worked in a number of investments and finance related roles over the years at Sun Life Financial (US), Sun Life Hong Kong Ltd, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. He is married to a UNH graduate and has two children. As an alumnus of the Honors Program, Geoff has supported the program by beginning both the Facebook and LinkedIn groups in an effort to connect alumni and students. He periodically visits UNH for honors program functions. Below Geoff speaks to his experience in the Honors Program and offers advice for fellow alumni/ae and current students.
Tell us a little bit about your background?
Raised in Londonderry, New Hampshire most of my life, I consider myself a New Englander and a NH boy at heart. I grew up hiking the White Mountains, exploring the Seacoast, competing at the Paul Sweet oval (UNH indoor track), and running on cross country courses all over the state. It was this strong connection to the state that made me want to pursue my education there.
Why did you decide to attend UNH?
Selecting an undergraduate program can be a daunting task. I was impressed by UNH’s business school and I was confident that it would give me a great education. However, I wanted to max out my academic experience and so when I learned that the Honors Program had a spot for me, my decision was sealed.
How did the Honors Program contribute to your experience at UNH?
I feel passionate about the UNH Honors Program because of the many fond memories that it gave me. My first honors course was World History with Hans Heilbronner. He recounted his escape from Nazi Germany, turning history into reality. Years later, I am still moved by that course. I elected to pursue the Honors-in-Major program to add focus to my business studies but it was not an easy decision to make because the honors courses were so interesting.
Did you write a thesis while at the Honors Program and how did it help your career?
Yes, and I am glad that I did. Pursuing an undergraduate degree in the honors program is a lot of work and stress so it was discouraging and humbling to be sitting during my graduation ceremony without a job. The New England economy was beginning to recover but it was still very weak when I graduated in 1993. I remember fighting senioritis to finish my honors thesis while my friends were already out celebrating. It was agony. However, a few weeks after graduation, I interviewed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). I felt prepared for it. My thesis was about the troubled banking industry. It gave me a lot to talk about. I was offered a bank examiner trainee position, which was a great career opportunity for me. I stayed with the FDIC for eight years and a learned a lot from that organization. I’m sure that my thesis had a lot to do with getting my first job out of college.
Is there any advice you would like to share with incoming, current, or graduating students?
I encourage all current students to stay in the program and to remain involved in the HP community after graduation. Don’t be intimidated by the honors thesis. There are a lot of supporters of the UNH Honors Program. Contact them for help and ideas.
Do you have any thoughts that you would like to share with the Honors Program community?
The current economy is challenging for college graduates. I am concerned about budget cuts to the program and the career prospects for students. Alumni who are in a position to do so should donate to the program, forward a current student’s resume to a person that may be able to do something with it, or respond to a student/alum request for help. Work experience and internships are invaluable so I ask alum to consider posting internships and job opportunities on UNH Honors Program forums such as LinkedIn. Each of us can think of a person who has made a difference in our lives; why not be that person?