by Elliott May '06
If you were to Google the word “success”, you might come across the story of Caroline Horn ’92. With nearly 10 years of experience working in the field of executive recruiting, Caroline has spent the last two years rising among the ranks at Google as a staff recruiter. But ‘recruiting’ isn’t exactly something Dartmouth has a major for and as Caroline relates, there have been more than a few twists in the 14 years since she left Hanover.
“There’s no direct path,” she laughs. “I was an anthropology major and minored in religion at Dartmouth… a good liberal arts major, and I actually wanted to be a photographer. My dream was to work for National Geographic when I graduated.” In pursuit of this goal, Caroline spent two of her off-terms interning with two professional photographers, and she also worked for the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine her junior and senior years. These experiences were valuable, she says, because they showed her what it meant to be a professional photographer. “I got a sense of what it would be like to work at a magazine and work as a photographer. It really helped me to figure out early enough so that I didn’t spend five years of my career as a photographer only to realize it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I wanted to keep it as a hobby and find another path.”
That new path led Caroline to New York City after graduation where she took a job in marketing and sales with Clearpool, Inc. “It was a great experience. No matter what you do, you’re constantly selling your ideas or selling colleagues to get involved in projects with you. Sales isn’t something you really learn in school but it’s a really good skill.”
The position was also a good find because it led Caroline to the vocation that’s since become her real passion: executive search. In her five years with Clearpool, the most important assignment Caroline received turned out to be providing marketing research for the firm hired to search out an executive for her own company. In closely working with the search firm, she became more and more interested in what they were doing. And when the time came to switch careers, Caroline’s destination was clear.
“I do really love executive search,” Caroline says. “You get to talk to really interesting people every day, you get to learn about different businesses, and you get to understand different markets.”
Working in executive search has also meant a great deal of international work, something that has happily remained true since Caroline began working with Google two years ago. “Google’s growing by leaps and bounds, and there are so many different opportunities. I enjoy what I’m doing a lot right now because I’m helping the company expand into different countries. I’ve had opportunities to go over to other countries to work for six months or a year if want to. Right now I’m leading a team that’s spread out over eight countries so I do get a chance to travel a lot, and for now that’s keeping me pretty busy. But if I really wanted to move to a different country and start a new office, I’d have that chance, too.”
Caroline’s passion for working across borders dates back to another off-term, her Semester at Sea. “We stopped in ten different countries and learned a lot about different cultures, and that’s really where I developed my passion for anthropology. I do believe studying anthropology has helped me because I am aware of how cultural differences impact somebody’s communication style, the way they look for jobs, and the ways they interact with their own colleagues. So even though it wasn’t a direct path, it was definitely a good background.”
Caroline credits that background in anthropology and her decision to stick with her interest in international business with getting her to where she is today. When asked what she thinks current undergrads might take away from her own experience, Caroline suggests simply “following what you’re passionate about. Don’t worry so much about whether this is going to get me a job at Goldman Sachs or BCG or wherever. Do what you’re really interested in and you’ll wind up learning a lot more than you would doing something you don’t really like.”
Last Updated: 6/21/12