The Problem

Columbia University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS) wanted to partner with an experienced and unbiased educator to develop a holistic workshop series that would help Masters’ and PhD students manage their personal finances.  Additionally, GSAS wanted to provide foundational knowledge to help address unique tax nuances of graduate students, including how to account for stipends and fellowships; however, the university was constrained in its ability to offer individual tax advice to its students.

The Solution

Shahar partnered with the GSAS to create a customized financial wellness program that addressed the unique  circumstances of Master’s and Ph.D. students. 

Workshops included:

  • Implementing A Winning Financial Plan

  • Investing For The Future: How To Grow Your Wealth

  • Preparing Your Tax During And After Graduate School

  • Workplace Benefits: Setting Yourself Up For Day 1 Success

The dynamic sessions included video clips and case studies to help graduate students develop healthy financial habits:

  • Techniques to manage lump sum stipends/payments

  • Frameworks for how to manage student debt

  • Strategies to develop and maintain good credit

  • Guidance on how to file tax returns as a graduate student

  • Advice on how to invest successfully for the future

Shahar has been invited back every year since 2015 to deliver the Personal Finance Workshop series and set Columbia Graduate Students on the path to financial success

Columbia GSAS edited 1.jpg

The Results

Shahar's workshops have been extremely well-received both by students and the Columbia administration. Columbia GSAS asked Shahar to expand the program in 2016 and return each year to deliver it

recommend to a friend score




masters’ students

“Very clear, to the point, answered questions very well, loved it!  Great info, time well spent!”

"Great workshop that answered a lot of my questions and directed me towards really good information. Eager to attend future sessions"

“I definitely found this program very helpful.  Thank you so much for providing such useful information in an understandable way”

"I had an initial concern that I'd find it boring after 2 hours because I'm not a finance person (or difficult to understand because I have zero background in this), but I was SO wrong.  Thank you for making it enjoyable and easy to understand for a noob like me!"

"Fantastic! A much needed addition to help grad students navigate financial situation"

"This is excellent and I would highly recommend it.  I am normally very scared of financial planning and this made it accessible"

ph.d. students

"This was super helpful! I knew very little of this and it was great to learn"

“I loved that the advice is backed up by research and also appreciated that the advice is concrete and actionable”

"Was both a nice description of the basics and contained helpful info for me even as someone who already budgets, saves for retirement, and is thinking long-term"

"Loved it.  Good pace, approachable, and realistic.  Feels doable"    

“Thank you very much for this great presentation.  This was very helpful --> clear structure, easy to follow for people like me who have no finance/business background!”

"Fantastic workshop and Shahar was very flexible about accommodating to our needs and interests"

“Great, clear presenter, very professional and engaging.  Super informative”

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