Pawel was born in Szczecin, Poland, and spent his teenage years in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain before entering the Huntsman Program in 1997. Having experienced different cultures and traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Arabian Peninsula, Pawel was attracted to the program, the only one of its kind in the Ivy League, by its unique international dimension. During his degree he spent a semester in Aix-en-Provence, France, where he took classes in economics, literature, and culture at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques and the American University Center of Provence. Back at Penn, he pursued his interest in languages further by taking advanced courses in Spanish, Russian, and German, and living in the Modern Languages residential program. In addition to a Finance concentration in Wharton and the International Studies major in the College of Arts & Sciences, Pawel also obtained a major in French. He graduated with honors in 2001, becoming a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic society.
After graduation, Pawel spent ten years at Goldman Sachs in New York and in London. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Economics at the University of Oxford.