Why did you choose to work at HBS?
I chose to work at HBS because I had come from a corporate environment where working long nights, holidays, and weekends really started to take a toll on me. When I came to HBS, I really appreciated people's respect for one's time and family after hours. It took me a while to get used to leaving at 5pm, especially when people asked why I was still sitting at my desk after 5pm. HBS teaches not only its students, but also its staff and employees to effectively manage their time and offers resources to help produce work efficiently. Harvard can appear to be a very intimidating place to work for, but the people, the students, the faculty, and staff I come across really help to make this a receptive, welcoming environment. Not to mention, the stunning campus I get to walk around on a day-to-day basis, really puts into perspective that your surroundings make a huge difference in your attitude.
How has your career developed at Harvard or HBS?
My technological skills have strengthened quite at bit at HBS. HBS stays abreast of all the latest trends: ShareSites, Intranets, Wikis, etc. and offers a multitude of resources and trainings on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to maintain and strengthen employees' skills.
How does HBS compare — positively and/or negatively — to your previous place of employment?
At HBS, my job is constantly changing. I never have to worry about doing the same mundane things year after year. Working for faculty who take on new challenges such as developing a new course, heading up and entirely changing an existing course, submitting their research ideas to journals for nation-wide publications, or receiving a promotion to a tenured professor for the first time, the faculty assistant is a part of that process and learns all about it every step of the way. Things are constantly changing, and you have to be able to adapt. There's never a dull moment as new trends are always coming about.
What is special about working at HBS?
The vacation/sick/personal/holiday time is pretty special about working at HBS. The fact that we shut down around Christmas time and really get to spend time with friends and family is a special privilege. I find my place of employment is a family environment and the people whom I work for support the importance of managing time between work and family. It goes to show you that HBS really appreciates all the work you do throughout the year and acknowledges that with time off. Also, throughout the year, the community comes together for special occasions like Thanksgiving pies, faculty assistant brunches, and unit promotion parties.
What HBS accomplishment are you most proud of?
My greatest accomplishments have been that I've taken on some tough Unit tasks including Faculty Recruiting, Faculty Promotional Packets, Finance 1 Course Head Assistant, Finance Unit Head Assistant, and assisting with the administration of any new RC (1st year MBA) or EC (2nd year MBA) course.
What opportunities have you had at HBS that could have only happened here?
The Extension School has been my greatest asset at HBS. Working at HBS allowed me to get my Associates Degree from the Harvard Extension School at a very low cost. The fact that we only have to pay $40/class is great, and as an added bonus, after my 15th year of service, I was allowed to take courses for free.
I will be graduating in May of 2011 with Honors in the Field of Study in Psychology. Aside from psychology, I've been exposed to so many liberal arts courses: history, website development, acting classes on Chekhov, history and ethics in biotechnology, public speaking, law, moral reasoning, and expository writing. I never would have been given the opportunity to do so had it not been for the tuition assistance program or the support of my faculty members to finish up my education. The best part of working for an academic institution is that every single person within that institution understands the importance of getting an education. Not many people can say they have a Harvard degree or that they don't have any outstanding student loans at that!