Carnegie, Thomas

  Thomas Carnegie

Personal Information
Rutgers University Class: Rutgers College, Class of  1995

Home Town/High School:   Montville Township

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

Date of Questionnaire:  June 25, 2009
Career History

During college, I gained professional experience as a Guest Relations Manager and TQM Coordinator in the hotel industry.  After graduating from Rutgers with dual majors in Political Science and Economics, I moved to Washington, D.C. and worked as a legal assistant for a telecommunications law firm.  Three years later, I was hired by a management consulting company and held positions as a Consultant, Project Manager then Senior Management Consultant for clients including the FAA, IRS, U.S. Army and D.C. Government.

In 2001, I took and passed the Foreign Service Exam, and in March of 2002 I was hired as a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State.  I currently serve as an economic officer in the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala covering a range of issues including aviation, ports, environment, intellectual property protection, anti-money laundering, and telecommunications.  I previously served in the U.S. Consulate in Guayaquil, Ecuador as a consular officer and in Washington, D.C. as the Coordinator of the Digital Freedom Initiative and Director of Telecommunication and IT Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa.

While serving in Washington, I received a Masters of International Policy and Practice at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs
Career Advice

I believe that the best way to get the most of college is to take courses and get involved in activities that one is passionate about.  When I first arrived at Rutgers, I filled up my schedule with Political Science classes.  I remember studying Eastern European governments as the Soviet Union was crumbling, learning public policy principles, and debating foreign policy positions through analysis of case studies.  I also later added a second major in Economics after a wise Political Science professor suggested that I take a macroeconomics class and see if I liked it.  That passion for foreign policy and economics translated into me co-founding the Association of International Relations to compete in model United Nations competitions and organize forums on current topics.  I also served on the Rutgers College Judicial Board, as Treasurer of the Rutgers College Finance Committee, and as the Secretary General of the Rutgers Model UN.  All of these experiences, both inside and outside the classroom, provided me with academic, leadership, and analytical skills that continue to serve me well in my professional career.

The best advice regarding what to do after leaving college I have heard is – “Don’t worry about where you are headed at first; it is the work experience that counts.”  This turned out to be very true in my case.  I spent a few years in hotel management, then moved to a telecommunications law firm and ended up as a management consultant before I was prepared to take the Foreign Service Exam.  All of that prior experience paid off during the interviews – including my classes/activities at Rutgers as well as my personal travel. 

Other Advice
Do what you are passionate about.  I very much enjoy traveling, and spent one summer while in college with friends in Holland and France and another three week period after college visiting India as both a tourist and to participate in a wedding.  Little did I realize at the time that my penchant for travel would be one of they key factors that demonstrated to the State Department my ability to live outside of the U.S. for long periods of time