WHAT IS YOUR DAY JOB AT HBS?

JILL: My days are spent in Wilder House – come see us! I work in CPD as the Manager of Market Intelligence. As a member of the marketing/data team, I help maintain our IOU platform, which provides students with amazing research tools to check out compensation and offer data. I’m most interested in studying internship employment trends year to year and learning more about the companies, industries, and locations RCs want to spend their summers exploring.

LIZ: I work in GEO as a Manager on the Global Partners team. Our team identifies, meets with and develops projects with all the Global Partners for FGI. Every day is a bit different, depending on the time of year, but is usually a mix of early morning or late night skype calls, lots of emails and a few meetings with faculty members to select projects.

We also hit the road and travel a lot. This fall I traveled to Mexico City, Helsinki, Casablanca, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Accra to meet with prospective Global Partners. We have between 9 - 12 projects in each city, so we typically meet with 15 or more companies to explore ideas. Our alumni and the HBS Global Initiative are instrumental in helping us identify potential partners.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN A PROGRAM MANAGER BEFORE? 

JILL: I’ve never been a program manager, which makes this year especially exciting. Last year, I was an alternate for FGI and had to be ready at a moment’s notice to travel. That definitely kept me on my toes!

LIZ: Yes! Last year I was a Program Manager in Lima. It was a ton of fun getting to know all the students and spending time exploring the city and Peruvian culture.

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

JILL: I’m thrilled to connect with students and faculty outside the structure of my day job, and I love talking to people! As we band together on a journey to a strange place, I’m eager to see the levels of collaboration and creativity that will develop throughout our travels.

LIZ: For me, the most exciting part is seeing FGI in action. Since my job is to help build the program from scratch every year, it is really awesome to see it all come together. When students finally meet their Global Partners in person, I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and pride. It is also fascinating to really dig in to a new culture and learn about it from the students and faculty’s perspective. Listening to students talk about their customer interactions and meetings with partners is really fun, because they are experiencing the culture first-hand from local people. Faculty members can shed an interesting light on the business culture in the country and call out unique comparisons to what we know. It is not often that you get so much authentic local perspective while abroad.

WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO LEARN IN YOUR FGI LOCATION?

JILL: Huge art history buff over here, so I hope to visit some museums and iconic buildings around Helsinki. It’ll be great to walk around, experience daily life in the city, and really immerse ourselves in the local culture.

LIZ: I have been to Helsinki before, but only for four days. I was really impressed with the city and the Finnish people, so I am excited to explore it a bit more. Design is a huge part of Finland, and I’d like to learn more about the local art and design culture in Helsinki.

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN’T TRAVEL WITHOUT?

JILL: Sunglasses. 100%. I live in them when I’m outside and need them when I sleep on planes. It sounds ridiculous, but if you have really sensitive eyes, you know what I’m talking about! I’ve learned that it’s important to bring a backup pair too. Sometimes when I travel home and leave my dog alone, she magically finds the glasses case in my bag and starts chewing…

LIZ: For work, a portable battery! I learned the hard way that once your phone dies in the middle of a busy day of meetings, you’re up creek without a paddle. So I have a mega-diesel extra battery that works for both iPhones and other devices. It has saved me (and my colleagues) on every trip.

For fun, running shoes! I love to run outside if possible, so I always bring a pair in case the weather is good. I had some great runs in Helsinki while training for the Chicago Marathon in the fall, so I am excited to hit the local trails up again. There is one right across from the hotel.

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

JILL: When I was maybe 10 years old, I traveled to Peru, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands with my family, and it was an unforgettable trip. We made it up to Machu Picchu, and then that day, there was a HUGE mudslide. We lost power, had to hike down, walk for miles along train tracks, but it was such an adventure. Taking a boat over to the Galapagos to witness iguanas and sea lions up close definitely made for an awesome end of the trip.

LIZ: My favorite place to travel for HBS has been to Morocco. I’ve been to Casablanca two times to meet with prospective Global Partners, and every time I am blown away by the people, companies and country. Admittedly, I did not know much about the Middle East North Africa Region before starting my job at GEO, so it was an incredible experience to learn about the region first-hand during my first trip. I will remember my trips to Morocco forever. It is the only place where, without fail, I have been invited into others’ homes for meals and spent hours talking about my interests and family with strangers who have turned into close friends.

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

JILL: (1) Hungry, (2) Resilient, and (3) Spirited.

LIZ: (1) Organized, (2) Curious, and (3) Hungry.

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

JILL: To be honest, I’d have to say Yiddish. It’s a part of my heritage that I would love to dive into. In college, Yiddish language classes were offered, but I opted to take courses like Russian literature and French cinema at the time, because why not! It would be meaningful to converse with my grandparents beyond the English we know and use every day.

LIZ: Spanish! I totally failed as a teenager and took Latin growing up, so I have a good understanding of root words but absolutely zero fluency in any practical foreign language. I luck out because with my job all our meetings and conversations are in English anyways, but speaking any other language would just make me feel a lot more confident. So much of the world speaks Spanish, so that’s my first choice. The most embarrassed I’ve been was when someone (who spoke 4 languages) asked me what my second language was. I literally mumbled, “uhh, unfortunately only English,” and turned bright pink. L  I’ve since downloaded Duolingo to my phone.