2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Thomas Kolath, Providence College

Thomas Kolath

Providence College School of Business

“An arts kid who happens to be good with numbers.”

Fun fact about yourself: Although I shouldn’t be too proud of it, I was once featured on the popular show “Caught in Providence.”

Hometown: Saratoga, NY

High School: La Salle Institute

Major: Finance & Management

Minor: Computer Science & Music

Favorite Business Course: Financial Modeling w/ Python

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:


  • Beta Gamma Sigma (President)
  • Friars Club
  • Entrepreneurship Society
  • Finance Society
  • Students for Social Action

Volunteer Work

  • WaterFire Fundraiser Event Planner
  • The Tomorrow Fund Bid Assistant
  • Sharon Fellowship Church of Albany Music Director

Extracurricular Activities

  • Photography
  • Chess
  • Skiing/Snowboarding

Where have you interned during your college career? Two years at a corporate law firm in Washington D.C. and, during the summer of COVID, I took four online classes.

Who is your favorite professor? Although it is difficult to select just one, I would choose my Music Theory instructor, David Riley. He was easily one of my most demanding mentors. We have had our ups and downs. There have been many times I wanted to knock over the seemingly millions of bobbleheads he had in his office, but, when I needed help, he was always there for me. I spent countless hours by his side getting frustrated over chord progressions, reminiscing episodes of The Simpsons, and bantering about life. When I was at my low points, he listened to me. Over time I realized I had a lot more in common with him than I initially believed. He puts on a tough outer persona but is a huge softy on the inside. Every college student has their version of Professor Riley. Mine just so happens to tell dad jokes and maintain his unhealthy, but endearing, obsession with Star Trek.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The importance of relationships and connections should not be overlooked. Being good at your job is great, but the relationships we build can reveal unique opportunities and make the experience worthwhile.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Find an area you are passionate about and pursue it relentlessly. Just because you are good at something does not mean that is what you have to do. Instead, do something that excites you to get out of bed in the morning.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? The contributions that stem from a diverse environment are invaluable. It is easy to become functionally fixated in business, so it is vital to have various perspectives providing new insights and ideas.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I would not have worked three jobs (as a manager at Taco Bell, calculus tutor, and pizza delivery) my freshman year to finance 100% of my college expenses. Going to sleep at 5 a.m. and getting up for class at 8:30 was, to say the least, not sustainable long term. It impacted my academic and social life. Instead, I would focus my attention on schoolwork and enjoying my college career.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? Last winter, I hiked the summit of Mount Marcy (highest elevation in New York). It took me three attempts. The first time I did not have the proper equipment to trek through the extensive layers of snow and the second time I experienced minor symptoms of frostbite. However, despite the challenges, it did not stop me from persevering. When I finally made it to the top and looked out into the distance, the view I saw made the struggle all worthwhile. Through this experience, I proved to myself that I could achieve any goal, even the ones that challenge me the most.

Which classmate do you most admire? Brian Campbell is genuinely the most driven and exemplary person I have had the pleasure of meeting during my time at Providence College. Working alongside him, he has not only advanced my financial knowledge, but he has also helped me to become a better version of myself through the example he sets. He is extremely compassionate, and always takes the time to help those who need it. Brian is the type of person people look up to.

Who would you most want to thank for your success?  I would thank my father. Although he is not here anymore, he taught me the importance of hard work and how to strive for excellence. He set high expectations, which just made me work even harder. I know he would be proud of the person I have become.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? 

  1. To give a talk at a Sibos conference
  2. To be able to guide someone looking to gain knowledge and experience in the financial industry

What are your hobbies? Some of my hobbies include collecting watches, riding motorcycles, trying unique foods, and making a fool of myself singing my heart out to the songs I play on the piano.

What made Tom such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“In over four decades of teaching at Providence College, I have rarely seen anyone as focused and dedicated to the process of learning and self-betterment as Tom. In my opinion, an entirely impactful and rewarding life awaits him.”

Joe Gemma
Assistant Professor, Department of Management
Providence College



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