29 Mar 2024

Know Your HBS Staff: Paul Bronzo


by Shona Simkin

Whether it’s an updated data analytics tool for his role in Harvard Business School’s (HBS) Executive Education unit, a new ceramic glaze or vase shape, or a language class at Harvard Extension School, Paul Bronzo is dedicated to continuous learning. We asked Paul about his career at HBS, his ceramics practice, and what he loves about his work.

Tell us about your role here at HBS.
I’m the senior analytics manager on the market insights and analytics team within Executive Education’s marketing and sales department. I look at data in all forms, from our web analytics to get a sense of traffic to our website and marketing campaigns, and in our CRM (customer relationship management tool), getting a sense of the health of our programs and understanding the demographic information of our participants. It’s the full beginning and end of the funnel and then repeating that cycle. It’s really interesting and a new field for me. I’ve learned a lot, the technology is always changing and evolving, which is exciting to see and be a part of. We’re a team of six, four full-time, one intern, and one part time—small but mighty!

What was your path to HBS?
After college I worked at Wells Fargo for a year in a client liaison position, which is the intermediary between the financial advisor and their client. Then I jumped to HBS. It’s exciting and nice to feel so comfortable here. I’m from White Plains, New York, right outside the city. I went to college here in Boston, and it’s more my speed—it has the city appeal but with green space and quiet.

I’ve been here for most of my professional career—eight years in February. I started in Executive Education program delivery, then I moved to external relations for event planning, and then I moved back into Executive Education to more of an advising position, identifying which programs would be a good fit for prospective participants. In that role I worked with Salesforce a lot and parlayed that experience into this position. I’ve worn many hats within HBS and have learned a lot in each position—they’ve each set me up and prepared me for what the next role entailed.

What are some favorite parts of your job?
The work itself is very exciting. HBS has a huge impact on Boston, the US, globally—it’s sometimes a little surreal to realize that the work you’re doing, no matter how small or large, is very forward facing and makes a huge impact with a lot of people. The industry is also exciting; there’s so much to learn. I’ve learned a lot on this job because I hadn’t worked in this industry before, but even if I had come from a more experienced background, there would be so much to learn because everything is always changing. AI is a hot topic, but there are so many innovations and platform updates that there’s a continuous need to learn.

And the people here are great. In each of my positions there’s been a very strong sense of community. I’ve felt like I could always go to anyone on my team or department with a work question but also easily go out after work and have a nice conversation. I’ve always connected with people because they’re also passionate about their work, but also because they bring all of themselves to the job, which helps with that sense of engagement.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
Sleep! (laughs) Through working here I’ve gotten very involved in ceramics and it’s become a big passion. My uncle is a ceramicist in North Carolina, and taught a workshop as I was starting at HBS. He told me to come check it out so I took a few classes and made some wonky things that only my mom would like. I was also taking classes towards my master’s, and when I finished that I felt like I could get more invested in ceramics. For the last two or three years it’s been fun to get dirty with the clay. It’s very meditative and calming—I have a wheel at home now and whenever I have a moment I like to throw things. There are times I’ll go to the studio and six hours go by—and I’m a very hungry person but I forget to eat at times! It’s been really nice to be able to explore and develop a passion for it. I sold my first piece at a recent studio sale and I was like “What??? Someone actually wants this?” I’ll do this for a long time.

Other than that, I love food and cooking. I’m always trying different recipes I see on YouTube or Instagram. I used to have a food blog on Instagram with almost 20,000 followers. I’d post food I had at different restaurants in pursuit of a free meal! It felt silly but it was exciting to try different restaurants. That work dried up during COVID, and I’ve turned my attention to another account for my ceramics.

What are your favorite types of ceramics to make?
I’m at the mercy of the wheel most of the time. I think I’d like to make a vase and then it turns into a bowl. Lately I’ve been a big fan of jars, which are difficult to make but very satisfying once you find the fit. I have a salt jar at my apartment and every time I use it I think “Oooh that’s such a clean fit!” I’ve been making a lot of bud vases and I like making donut vases, which can be hung on a wall and look beautiful. I’m always checking out different alterations and accents to add with glazes.

If ceramics has taught me anything it’s to never get too attached—you can get all the way to glazing and think you’re making it a beautiful blue and it comes out a muddy brown. It’s been a good lesson in patience and learning to detach a little bit. It’s always a fun learning process when I see something to try and keep iterating on it to a finished product. It’s been great—and heartbreaking—to experiment.

Tell us more about getting your master’s degree.
I got my master’s in management from the Harvard Extension School. It was a lot of classes in strategy, finance, marketing, and some electives like urban planning—which was one of my most interesting classes. It was a lot of work and a lot of late nights, but it was definitely worth it. Taking classes is such a massive benefit of working at Harvard, it felt difficult to not do it. I’ve taken Arabic classes, Spanish, ceramics—there are so many things to explore.

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