Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Carolina Romeo, Harvard Business School

Carolina Romeo

Harvard Business School

“An athletic, passionate, stubborn, social nerd who challenges your way of thinking in pursuit of excellence.”

Hometown: Calgary, Canada

Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m the youngest female athlete to ever compete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (NCAA equivalent) – I competed for the Dinos at the age of 15. Apparently, as per a reporter, I should own an NHL team in my future… that’s what the youngest male to ever compete in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (in 1967) ended up doing! That will be quite a different outcome than I had envisioned with my grade-1-teacher-turned pastry-chef turned engineer ambitions.

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Calgary – Engineering (Mechanical Engineering with a Biomedical Specialization)
Tuck School of Business – Next Step Program

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Shell; Transformation Lead & Logistics Team Lead

What has been your first impression of the Harvard Business School MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. They are naturally energetic, thoughtful, and opinionated, yet open-minded, passionate, sharp, inspiring and ambitious. It has been fun to get to know each person’s story and to explore the diverse paths that are possible from the same degree.

What makes the case method so attractive as a means to learn and become a better manager? It is representative of real life. The case method forces you to make decisions with limited information, to think on your feet and craft a cohesive, grounded and convincing answer, and have dialogues on complicated topics. All of which are essential skills to be a great manager.

Aside from your classmates and cases, what was the key part of Harvard Business School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Aside from classmates, cases and professors, it was the cross-school access that sold it for me to attend HBS’s MBA program – meaning the opportunity to take classes from or attend seminars and talks at the other Harvard schools, such as the Kennedy School of Public Policy or the Law School. As our world gets more complex and the business landscape continues to evolve, I think it’s important to be able to discuss and understand topics from several diverse perspectives – regardless of if they are in line with my opinion. I wanted the opportunity to explore issues from a public policy, law, or education lens to complement the in-depth business discussions. This will make me a more empathetic and thoughtful leader.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at Harvard Business School? The Section Reveal. Since our section plays such a big role in our MBA experience, I am very excited to find out who I will get to spend the majority of the next 9 months with. Plus, once the reveal happens it will really solidify that the HBS experience has started…

When you think of Harvard Business School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why?  “Infinite-Possibilities” – because it captures both the excitement for growth and impact and the potential emotion of feeling overwhelmed if you don’t harness the energy effectively.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  There are many record-breaking team efforts that I am proud to have contributed to – the million-dollar challenge, the SWAT team, the drive for five, the $100MM FCF mission and the modernization of logistics.

However, the accomplishment I am most proud of thus far is when at the age of 24, I became the first female completions supervisor in Argentina for Shell. I am most proud of this because it not only opened doors for future females, but it generated discussion in the field and society resulting in changed mindsets. My people-first approach helped to change how we worked and men’s expectations of a supervisor. Initially, workers often mistook me for the safety representative. When this would happen, I learned to take an educational approach as, more often than not, a confrontation does not drive lasting change. I was open to having tough conversations and remained curious about their biases. I found that people always had a reason for their beliefs. Through conversation, most were open to alternative views. I vividly remember a year into the role, while training a female engineer, a gentleman in his 60s, said to me with a smile, “I never thought I would see two females talking about pipe specifications.” This made me happy, because he was acknowledging that his biases were changing, and retraining his mind to normalize the situation.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I realized now is the right time to pursue an MBA during an International Women’s Day speech in 2021 when the speaker said: “We have 3-4 decades in our professional careers to make an impact. What will you choose to make an impact on?”

Although I have had an extremely rewarding career thus far, with opportunities I never imagined possible (I initially chose engineering because of roller coasters), I wasn’t sure that energy was the industry that I am most passionate about. It was during that speech that I realized that in order to have the impact I want to have and to become the leader I aspire to be, it was time to go pursue my MBA.

Post-MBA, I want to go into strategy. I am an eternal devil’s advocate and like to understand (and craft) why companies decide to invest (or not invest) in different opportunities.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? The podcast Marketplace Morning Report – It is a daily 10 minute podcast that gives an overview of the top business events and issues happening around the world. It is a great snapshot of current events so that you can dive deeper into the issues that interest you the most while understanding the broad world view.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? INSEAD

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Harvard Business School’s MBA program?  Own your story. Use the open-ended essay to bring your application to life and capture your personality. Think about what the table stakes are and what sets you apart – what makes your story unique, where have you been and where do you want to go. The open-ended question can seem overwhelming at first, but it really is a great opportunity to share what you really want the admissions team to know.


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