WHAT IS YOUR DAY JOB AT HBS?

CAROLINE: I’m a manager at the Digital Initiative, which is a center that builds expertise and community around the digital transformation of the economy. Amongst lots of other projects, I create experiential learning opportunities for students, innovative opportunities for research exploration for faculty, and lead the design and execution of our annual Summit and Future Assembly. We’re a small team with a big mission, so every day is different, but always fun.

PETRONELLA: I’m the Associate Director of Technology Support Services (TSS) Field Services. Our team provides desktop support the faculty, staff and doctoral students at HBS, we are the front facing team of the larger HBS IT team. My day to day varies from one day to the next, but mostly I’m overseeing a team of 8-9 technicians, collaborating with partners in different departments and probably participating in any number of IT projects I’m involved in at the time.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A PROGRAM MANAGER BEFORE?

CAROLINE: I served as a Program Manager for FGI in Phnom Penh, Cambodia last January. 

PETRONELLA: I have not been a Program Manager before. I have been interested before and finally this year the April/May time frame just seemed to work better for me.

WHAT EXCITES YOU MOST ABOUT TRAVELING WITH MBA STUDENTS AND FACULTY?

CAROLINE: It is a gift to help facilitate the worldview-altering experiences that students will encounter on FGI. When I served in Phnom Penh, my students met merchants who had never held or seen a credit card before. They created deep relationships with their Cambodian guides, despite the lack of apparent commonalities. They witnessed chaos and even corruption in ways that we often don’t see in America. It’s hard to predict what students will encounter in Sao Paulo, but I can’t wait to be a part of it!

PETRONELLA: I enjoy interacting with people and get excited about getting to know the students and faculty I will be traveling with. I’m looking forward to learning about their objectives and the methods they will use to achieve them. When I came to HBS almost 12 years ago my first job was supporting our students from Spangler Center but since changing roles and departments I do not get to interact with students as much anymore and I truly miss it. The opportunity to develop these relationships in location away from our campus I think enhances the whole experience.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO LEARN IN YOUR FGI LOCATION?

CAROLINE: I have an affinity for large cities (I lived in Paris in college and New York City and Rome are my two other favorite cities). It’s fascinating to explore vastly different neighborhoods that, all together, create the city’s overall atmosphere. I’m really thrilled to experience the intense energy and “different personalities” of the most populous city in the entire Southern hemisphere.

PETRONELLA: Hope to experience the Brazilian culture, learning about the people and their traditions. I grew up in Zambia where soccer was huge so I knew about Brazil before I could locate it on the map. I knew that one day I would need to visit.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT?

CAROLINE: I’ve been a podcast junkie for a while now – it’s my companion not only in travel, but when I’m commuting, cleaning, exercising… I’m the first to admit it’s a bit excessive. I have to travel with at least 20 episodes downloaded, preferably ReplyAll, How I Built This, Invisibilia and Call Your Girlfriend.

PETRONELLA: My strawberry ChapStick. It is in my car, my winter coats, my pocketbook…I have multiple and have it on me at all times.

WHERE HAS BEEN YOUR MOST FAVORITE PLACE TO TRAVEL AND WHY?

CAROLINE: My favorite trip thus far has been to Nicaragua. The country is so small yet has so much to offer – I still can’t believe I fit in a volcano hike, sand boarding, surfing, boating, and lots of beach time in just 6 days. 

PETRONELLA: Vancouver, BC. It is by far the best experience I have had and the one place I think to be really beautiful. There was so much to do and see; the city, the ocean, the mountains…etc. – it had everything! Also I was with my best travel companion, my little sister so it was an experience I will always treasure.

IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A TRAVELER, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

CAROLINE:  (1) Pragmatic, (2) Flexible, and (3) Thrill-Seeker. 

PETRONELLA: (1) Balanced, (2) Independent, and (3) Happy.

IF YOU COULD SPEAK ANOTHER LANGUAGE, WHICH WOULD IT BE AND WHY?

CAROLINE: Spanish. I can’t say I wholly regret taking French in high school instead of Spanish – because it led me to an amazing study abroad experience in Paris – but speaking Spanish would be so much more practical given that it’s by far the fastest-growing language in the US. Someday soon I plan to commit and make it happen! 

PETRONELLA: French, probably because I was a Celine Dion fan at an early age. I have always wanted to speak it but it hasn’t taken, even after taking it for 3 years in high school.