28 Feb 2024

Know Your HBS Staff: Aleksandra Kojić


By Shona Simkin

For Aleksandra (Ale) Kojić, the marketing manager in Admissions, Harvard Business School (HBS) is more than a workplace—it’s also a home and source of inspiration and opportunity. We talked with Ale about her work, her experience as a professional photographer, and how growing up in war-torn Serbia has influenced her perspective.

Where are you from?
I grew up in Belgrade, Serbia. I moved to the US in 2015 to be with my husband, who I met when I was getting my master’s degree in political science at the University of Belgrade. We were at a Model United Nations in Oxford, UK, and started dating. He was a West Point cadet at that time, and once he commissioned as an officer in the Army we moved to seven places in seven years—including downtown New York City, the most remote parts of Alabama, and South Korea. My husband is an MBA student here in his EC year. We’re done moving around for a while and are very happy to stay in Boston.

What is your role, and what is it like day to day?
I'm part of the Admissions marketing team, where I manage many different projects and tasks. I oversee the MBA Voices blog, which gives prospective students insights into the lives of current HBS students and alumni. I’m also responsible for managing our social media and advertising efforts, including creating graphics, budgeting, copywriting, and targeting for the MBA Program, joint degrees, and college programs like Peek and SVMP (Summer Venture in Management Program). Additionally, I update the Admissions website, conduct tours and information sessions for prospective students, and represent the school at various events around the country. Here, there's truly no such thing as an average day. The admissions cycle keeps our schedule constantly changing.

What was your professional path to HBS?
I’ve always been drawn to international and nonprofit work, looking for ways to contribute and make the world a better place. After my master’s I worked in the Serbian government and in the nonprofit space. Once we started moving a lot I started my own photography business. It had been a side hobby my entire life, then in college I started a photo blog that got a lot of attention. The business ended up really taking off and my work received multiple of awards—one highlight was working as the official backstage photographer for New York Fashion Week—I even met Anna Wintour! When we got stationed at West Point, I became involved with the people running marketing for their admissions, and got a first taste of how rewarding it is to work in higher education.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?
One aspect I love is hearing all the stories from our students—how they spend their time on campus and all of the different paths they pursue after graduating. Another is meeting so many different people around the School. My role allows for collaboration across multiple departments—Marketing & Communications, Student Academic Services, Career and Professional Development. Wherever I go I meet amazing people. Admissions specifically is an extremely supportive environment. Our team is really committed to professional and personal development, embodying the ethos we promote to our prospective students: that HBS is a community where everyone cares about the success of others as much as their own.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I really enjoy exploring Boston and New England. We try to get away every weekend, I love going to Cape Cod in the summer and Stowe in the winter. We went to Okemo last weekend and loved it, even though I’m not the best skier.

I mostly spend time with my dog, Kimchi, a corgi we got in South Korea. I play tennis, obviously—Novak Djokovic is from Serbia so everyone there plays tennis! I sail at Community Boating in Boston. I used to fence competitively, but I haven’t in about a year. Growing up, a lot of people in my school fenced, and I did for about 16 years. I was on Serbia’s under 21 national team. When we lived in rural Alabama I helped found a club that introduced local kids to fencing and the benefits of participating in sports for education and access to scholarships.

We live on campus in Soldier’s Field Park, which has been great. I feel like I’m in the middle of all the hustle and bustle. It’s interesting living among the students—I'm connected closely with them in my work and then see them at the dog park. The HBS campus is such a gorgeous environment, we really love it.

What is it like to blend your home and work in that way?
I embrace it. I try to participate in every way I can. The art on campus is incredible, so I go to all the art tours, the community events, the big talks. The more you get to know the campus the more amazing it is to get to live here. Having lived through a civil war and the bombing of Belgrade, I have a profound appreciation for the resources and opportunities that surround me here. This contrast between my past and present environments makes me value every moment I spend on campus. I’m very grateful to be here.

Tell us more about the experience of living through war.
I was born in Sarajevo right before the 90s conflict began. These were some of the most chaotic and dark times in recent European history. My family moved to Belgrade, and I was 10 when my city was bombed. We lived in a makeshift bomb shelter for almost three months. It was a hard time. My mom did a wonderful job of helping me and my sisters stay grounded. It was a crazy time, marked by turmoil, sanctions, conflict, and all of the growing pains of transitioning towards a genuinely democratic society. All of my family is still in Serbia, and I go back to visit whenever I can.

Living through an armed conflict has given me a better perspective on what really matters in life, and it helped me see what is worth getting upset about and what isn’t. I feel extremely fortunate to be here; to work here. Spending time with people willing to learn and include others in this academic environment—it’s incredible to me.

Since starting my job, I have completed multiple HBS Online courses, attended the Serbo-Croatian class at the College, participated in the Aspiring Leaders class, and joined the mentorship program through Human Resources. There are so many incredible resources available to us here as staff—MyTakes, panels, the HBS Show. I encourage everyone to engage with all the opportunities available at Harvard.

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