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10 candid career questions with PPP professionals – Brian Samuel

Brian Samuel's picture

Editor's Note: 
Welcome to the “10 Candid Career Questions” series, introducing you to the PPP professionals who do the deals, analyze the data, and strategize on the next big thing. Each of them followed a different path into PPP practice, and this series offers an inside look at their backgrounds, motivations, and choices. Each blogger receives the same 15 questions and answers 10 or more that tell their PPP career story candidly and without jargon. We believe you’ll be as surprised and inspired as we were. 


1.     What was your first job?
My first job was a junior analyst at the National Planning Agency, Jamaica. I resigned after 3 months. In the past, I’ve also been:

  • A farmer;
  • A fisher;
  • A shipper;
  • A banker;
  • A hotelier; and best of all
  • A sailor!
2.     What was/is your best job?
My best job is the one I have now.

3.     What does your family think you do all day at work?
My family members think I spend all day at work doing spreadsheets.

4.    What do you really do all day at work?
I really spend all day at work doing spreadsheets.

5.     If some days at the office you feel like Sisyphus, and other days you feel like Midas, what character from literature or history do you identify with the rest of the time?
Some days at the office I feel like Sisyphus, occasionally I feel like Midas, but most of the time I feel like Hermes.

6.     What did you think "PPP" stood for before you entered the field?
Before I entered this field, I thought "PPP" stood for “piss-poor planning”!

7.     What is your go-to industry website?
My go-to industry website is GGG: Great God Google.

8.     What did you learn from the book that made the biggest impact on you professionally?
The book that has made the biggest impact on me professionally taught me to do your best but don’t sweat the small stuff: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, by Robert Pirsig.

9. What shocks you about your own career advice to young professionals?
When I give advice to young professionals, I’m shocked to hear myself say “When I were a nipper”!

10. What is the most rewarding thing you’ve ever experienced in the course of PPP practice?
The most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced in the course of PPP practice is bringing private sector game lodges to the South African National Parks.

11. What is the most surprising thing you’ve ever experienced in the course of PPP practice?
The most surprising thing I’ve ever experienced in the course of PPP practice is that nothing surprises me anymore.

12. What do you refuse to compromise on professionally?
I’ve learned never to compromise professionally on quality of writing.

13. Do you think the PPP area you work in will look different in 10 years? Why?
I think the PPP area I work in will look different in 10 years because “with every mistake we must surely be learning.”

Read previous posts of “10 Candid Career Questions”.
Read Brian's posts at the PPP blog.

To contribute your PPP career story, email [email protected].