WRAP 2023: Xavier Hill, W’26

Going to a foreign country, not as a tourist but as a researcher and ambassador for Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania, is a fantastic opportunity that I had the pleasure of experiencing through Wharton’s World Research Assistantship Program (WRAP). Through the program, I was able to conduct research and aid in work at INSEAD, a business school in Fontainebleau, France. Through a connection with my faculty advisor Professor Aline Gatignon in the Management department, I worked with INSEAD’s Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society, helping integrate an ESG framework into INSEAD’s operations and curriculum.

As a French citizen, I was very excited to live in France for an extended period of time and immerse myself in the culture, something that is hard to keep up with living in the United States. Settling into my studio in the 4th arrondissement in Paris, I split time between commuting to INSEAD three days a week and working remotely.

Under the guidance of Dr. Katell Le Goulven, I was able to help further the Institute’s mission by working with key professors at INSEAD to further their missions, and by helping the Institute with independently conducted work. I worked with two professors at INSEAD, Professor Mark Stabile, the academic director of the Hoffmann Institute, and Professor Kaisa Snellman, the head of the Gender Institute at INSEAD, on various projects they were conducting.

I worked with Professor Mark Stabile to create a slideshow presentation for an MBA intro to climate change course. Alongside this project, I worked with Professor Kaisa Snellman to create a literature review of the problem drivers and solution to help solve the funding gap for female entrepreneurs in venture capital, which will be published in INSEAD’s Crossroads forum.

Moving to a new country is not easy. While I had some connections to people in Paris, being alone and being forced to make new friends in a different language is no small task. This challenge was what I was most looking forward to in the program, and one of the most fulfilling parts of the whole experience. Along the way, I also participated in French swimming, competing in two competitions and training with a French swim club at the French Military Academy C.N.S.D. in the city of Fontainebleau twice a week.

Overall, working at INSEAD’s Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society was an extraordinary experience that enabled me to grow and expand my horizons. Paris is a world class city with no limit to professional and cultural opportunities. I am grateful for WRAP and the INSEAD-Wharton partnership for this wonderful summer experience.