Golhar, Shawn

Shawn Golhar


Personal Information
Rutgers University Class:  Rutgers College, Class of 1002

Home Town/High School:  Hillsborough/Hillsborough High

Major(s)/Minor(s):  Economics and Political Science

Date of Questionnaire:  August 28, 2009
Career History

Shawn M Golhar is a Vice President in the Public Finance Group with Barclays Capital.  Shawn provides financial expertise to the full range of public sector clients, including state and local governments, non-profit organizations, and public authorities.  He also co-founded and serves on the Board for a private bioinformatics firm dedicated to developing a portable healthcare detection system to identify pathogens, reduce healthcare costs, and save lives.  In 2009, Shawn was selected as a Regional Finalist for the White House Fellows Program, the nation’s most prestigious program for leadership and public service.

Outside of the private sector, Shawn is the Chairman of the Board of IDIA (www.idia.net), a US-based civics education non-profit that was founded in the dormitories of Rutgers College.  In addition, Shawn serves on the Board for an activism non-profit called Global PACT International, Inc. (www.globalpact.org).  Global PACT coordinates extensive training sessions for young leaders by providing workshops focused on practical skills while developing a diverse global network of young, local leaders eager to positively impact society.  Shawn co-founded Global PACT with friends from Rutgers University in 2002 while teaching in Mongolia and replicated the program in 2004 in the Balkans.  Lastly, Shawn serves as the Alumni Vice President for Rutgers College’s Class of 2001, an elected position with over 3,000 constituents, and was selected to serve on the Rutgers Alumni Leaders Council. 

Shawn completed his BA degree in economics and political science at Rutgers College and the London School of Economics.  He graduated with his Master in Public Policy degree from the Harvard Kennedy School.  While at Harvard, Shawn spent a summer in Washington, DC working for Ashoka, a non-profit dedicated to supporting social entrepreneurs around the world.  

Career Advice

Develop a plan for your college career (i.e., what courses do you want to take every semester and what internships will you aim for, etc.) and articulate what you want to do after college.  It’s okay to change your plan, but develop goals and explain how you will reach them.  Where do you want to be at 25, 30, 35, etc.?  Here are a few things others have passed on to me that seem to work well: 

  • Read the news everyday (e.g., Economist, Foreign Affairs, New York Times, New Yorker, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, etc.) and read op-eds from a range of sources (e.g., DailyBeast.com, realclearpolitics.com, realclearmarkets.com, cfr.org, Politico.com, etc.).  If you are a political science student, you should have a handle on the major topics dominating the news,
  • Study, study, and study.  There’s no replacement for good grades.
  • Have at least two majors.  There’s plenty of time in four year to fit in two majors and the required courses. 
  • If you are a political science major at Rutgers, take courses in other fields to supplement your education (e.g., economics, statistics, mathematics, computer science, physics, public policy, public planning, etc.). 
  • Pursue internships every summer while in College.  If that is not possible, endeavor to have an internship in a career you may pursue the summer before your senior year
  • Find mentors and solicit their advice on a regular basis. 
  • Reach out to RU alums that may help (e.g., NY is full of RU alums so try to set up lunch/coffee meetings with alums on Fridays in NY in the summer).
  • Always ask those you want to emulate: What do you read?  What skills are most important in your kind of work?  How did your experience from Rutgers prepare you for this job? Do you like your job?   
  • Attend office hours and ask your professors for advice/connections.
  • If you can, study abroad and try to get an internship abroad.
  • When applying for jobs after college, apply to a range of positions.  Beginning one’s career in the Peace Corps or in Teach for America would be an excellent start.
  • Make time to volunteer in the community at the University.  Get involved with a cause you believe in and become a leader.
Other Advice

Rutgers can provide some wonderful opportunities, but no one will hold your hand.  If you want something, go for it.