College life creates many unique opportunities, long-lasting friendships, and bonds with educators that last a lifetime. For Paul Gilsdorf ’18, his collegiate experience included being part of the Collegiate Program at St. Joseph Discernment House on campus. The program, no longer in existence, invited young men to share in community life with the Holy Cross Brothers, even though they aren’t actively considering a vocation.

“Living with the brothers taught me so many powerful skills such as commitment to values, loving others no matter what, dedication to caring for my home and myself, and sharing a community of trust and love with those around me,” noted Gilsdorf.

It also led to a lasting friendship with Brother Jony Gregory, C.S.C., who is currently leading a school in Bangladesh. The two had the chance to visit one another at the school in February 2020. During that trip, he was inspired by the honest and hard-working people he met. To honor the work of the Holy Cross Congregation, he donated a scholarship providing full tuition to 10 poverty-stricken students.

Journey since Holy Cross College

Originally slated to graduate with the class of 2019, he finished a semester early and graduated from Holy Cross College in 2018. His degree included double majors in business and psychology, along with double minors in marketing and communication.

“Right after graduating, I went on to Harvard University in Spring 2019 to begin my Master’s in Finance. Because of tuition costs, I worked full time and attended classes and studied at night,” said Gilsdorf.

Originally, he was a project manager for a translation company in Boston, Massachusetts. Later, he was offered a job in Beijing, China. In May 2019, he became a Senior Learning Designer for TAL Education, one of the world’s largest e-learning companies.

“Luckily, my program at Harvard allowed for me to do up to two semesters remote, and required two in person. I did my first semester in-person then my next two from Beijing online, with a 12-hour time difference,” said Gilsdorf, whose last in-person semester changed to remote because of COVID-19. “In February 2020, the Chinese military took over Beijing and locked down everything with military checkpoints on every road. At that time, I made the decision to return to Boston, Massachusetts, and continued working for the Chinese company out of a temporary studio they established in Boston to accommodate the situation. I graduated from Harvard in December 2020 and immediately moved to New Hampshire where I am now a Director of Operations of a real estate company, Keller Williams. I manage all strategy, people management, hiring, financial planning, and overall business operations for our quickly growing team.”

Field of interest

“I’ve always had a passion for finance and investing. At Holy Cross, I was on the Notre Dame Investment Club and was learning how to trade stocks on my own. At Harvard, I immersed myself in the world of finance and investing, which included three real estate investment courses. Afterward, I applied for about 250 jobs because I believe it’s better to apply for a massive amount and pick and choose from whatever sticks,” noted Gilsdorf.

Holy Cross College influence

“Coming to Holy Cross and my experience there taught me that there are very few borders in this world that can’t be overcome and that If I want something I should work towards getting it because it’s possible to achieve if you’re committed,” commented the Texas native. “I would never imagine I would be growing the connections I did across the street at Notre Dame through clubs, classes, and working full time at the front desk of The Morris Inn.”

While on campus, he was one of the founding officers of the Psi Chi Club, the psychology department honors club. He was the treasurer, working with Professor Cosette Fox, Ph.D.

Impactful moment

“I used to take 18 and 21 credit semesters between my double major double minor at Holy Cross College, and a class a semester at Notre Dame. On top of that, I would work 30 hours a week at Notre Dame. There were plenty of times where I would start work at 5:45 a.m. and rush out of work to bike to class at Holy Cross in a full suit. At a certain point, that workload became more and more normal for me, and the supportive environment at Holy Cross allowed me to grow that skill set and habit through tutoring centers, the willingness of students to get together in small groups, and constructive areas like the libraries. Those habits lead me to Harvard and carried over into my professional life,” said Gilsdorf.

Next chapter

“My goal for the future is to continue building my passive income through real estate investments. I’ll continue working a full-time job in the meantime, but I have a goal to eventually own enough rental properties that my passive income (after all expenses) is enough to retire and live the rest of my life on that income,” commented Gilsdorf. “I think I could realistically accomplish this within 10 years by the time I’m 35. It’s a snowball effect where after you own your first and second properties, they get easier and easier to purchase. Until that time, I will continue working full-time, which I’m happy with my job now. But who’s to say I will want to stop working by the time I reach that goal – although it would be nice to only work part-time and not have to hold onto those commitments if I didn’t want to.”

Class of 2018 alumnus Paul Gilsdorf on Holy Cross College campus.
Paul Gilsdorf ’18
Paul Gilsdorf ’18, holding his degree from Harvard.

Images provided by alumnus Paul Gilsdorf.