VPF Point Person: John Parro
As the budget officer for 19 administrative units and the School of Architecture and Planning, John Parro understands the big picture of the Institute’s financial position while monitoring granular line-item details that comprise the individual unit budgets. As part of the Budget and Financial Analysis team at VPF, John serves as a resource to help units navigate the annual budget cycle, particularly as MIT undergoes changes in the level of detail necessary to enhance budgeting and forecasting Institute-wide.
John strives to maintain a high level of communication on what the budget cycle requires of DLCs and provide the data resources to make the process as seamless as possible. “There’s a lot of give and take,” says John. “I always try to address the context of why VPF needs clarification on a certain item. And often, financial officers will ask me to break down data into a format that is compatible with their specific needs. I’m always happy to provide more information because, in the end, more information leads to better insights, all of which benefits the Institute as a whole.”
Joining VPF in early 2015 following a year at the MIT Center for Materials Science and Engineering, John saw an opportunity to learn about MIT broadly and apply his considerable finance skills to the budget process at the Institute. In addition to his responsibilities as a budget officer, he coordinates the compilation of the annual Budget Book and the Report of Financial Results and leads the implementation of the administrative budget request process.
Growing up in the Twin Cities, a few miles east of St. Paul, Minnesota, John attended St. Cloud State University and completed an internship in a U.S. Congressional Office. Upon graduation, he worked in the hospitality industry, where he quickly progressed to positions in finance. At the same time, he started graduate work online at the Harvard Extension School. He then moved to Massachusetts and worked at Harvard while completing his Master's of Liberal Arts in Finance. Today he serves as the treasurer of the Harvard Extension Alumni Association.
For John, moving from a relatively modern city to very old Boston was an adjustment. Although he is accustomed to extreme cold (yes, it’s colder in Minnesota than here) it took time to adapt to the unusual street patterns, dense population, and Boston drivers, all of which contribute to the city’s unique personality. “But after a few months,” he says, “I fell in love with the place, quirkiness and all.” He just bought a condo in Everett that was built in 1880 and is exploring its many quirks as well. Today, he commutes on the Orange and Red Lines to get to MIT and appreciates the relative ease of getting around the city on the T.
An avid traveler, John always has a trip on the horizon, frequently traveling back to the Twin Cities and regularly exploring various parts of New England. This spring, after the 2018 Budget Book is published, he’s heading off on a 10-day trip to Iceland, London, Amsterdam, and Paris.
Today, John is enrolled in an executive education program at MIT Sloan in Management and Leadership. He plans to take a course in negotiation in the spring. “The combination of my professional and educational experiences help me appreciate the societal impact that can be made when people with diverse perspectives unite behind a common cause. I think the same holds true here at MIT. I approach my work with an appreciation of how stakeholders from across the Institute can come together to enable MIT to take on the world’s greatest challenges.”