Cornell University

Graduate Degree Programs

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Joshua Rosenberg Daneri, MILR '11

"Fantastic faculty and resources" at ILR and Cornell contributed to Daneri's MILR experience

Josh Rosenberg DaneriHometown: Miami, Fla.

Undergraduate institution: New College of Florida

Internship experience: Abbott Laboratories (Abbott Park, Ill.)

Prior work experience: English teacher at CLEN College, International House (Pamplona, Spain)

Why did you decide to attend graduate school at this time?

Toward the end of my undergraduate career, I developed an interest in business. Having studied psychology and philosophy at a liberal arts college, I knew it would be a challenge to break into the corporate world. The Master of Industrial and Labor Relations (MILR) program was an attractive way to leverage my social science background and gain an understanding of business.

What was your method of researching possible graduate programs?

The Internet was my primary method. As my undergraduate college tends to prepare students for academic graduate programs, I was relatively on my own when it came to finding a degree that would suit my needs. After talking to several professionals in human resources, it became clear that Cornell’s ILR School was the crème de la crème.

What was the most difficult factor in deciding to attend graduate school? What other factors did you consider in the decision making process?

The most difficult factor was the cost/benefit analysis involving university prestige, program quality and return on investment. Some programs were attractive in one or two of these areas, but weak in another. The MILR program, by far, offered strength in all three. Some of ILR's competitors were inexpensive, but had less impressive placement statistics. Others were in institutions that were just as respected as Cornell, but the program quality was suspicious. Overall, I needed a program that would be interdisciplinary and academically strong but also practical. Between the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies and ILR's extension activities, it was clear that the MILR program struck this balance.

Why did you choose to pursue the Masters of Industrial and Labor Relations degree (MILR) at the ILR School?

Compared to peer programs, the MILR offers better course offerings, a more international scope, unparalleled opportunities for research and assistantships, and an impressive amount of interaction with human resource executives. The labor component also gave a sense of balance to what otherwise might have been a monolithic approach to the study of the workplace.

How would you describe your general overall experience in the ILR Graduate Program?

The experience has been challenging and rewarding. The MILR program is a program in the strictest of senses: It's not merely a collection of courses that finally results in a degree. It's a well-planned cohort experience with personalized attention from the ILR Office of Career Services and a collegial atmosphere. The students become close, not only through their shared courses, but also through going to company information sessions; participating in student groups and organizations such as the ILR Graduate Student Association (GSA), the International GSA, the Human Capital Association (HCA), and the Cornell HR Review (CHRR); and attending events that are organized by students and faculty. My email inbox was flooded every morning with events not only in ILR, but throughout the rest of the Cornell. The MILR program socializes students so that they become versed in the world of work. A student can come in not knowing anything about human resources or labor relations and walk out feeling competent in these areas. The culture is not cutthroat by any means, and the flexibility in course selection has also been a major plus.

What was your most memorable experience during your time in the ILR Graduate Program?

The team building "ropes course" through the Cornell Outdoor Education (COE) department during the MILR orientation was an excellent way to build trust and cohesion in my cohort. Without it, I wonder whether we would have been so comfortable around one another for the remainder of the program.

How have you benefitted from attending ILR and Cornell?

Both Cornell and ILR have exposed me to fantastic faculty and resources. ILR, in particular, has made me more confident when interacting with executives, and it has helped my interviewing skills. I currently work as a teaching assistant for a course entitled "Work, Labor, and Capital in the Global Economy," and I'm the director of publications for The Cornell HR Review. Last summer, I worked in the global assignments department of a Fortune 100 firm, and soon I will be working for the Philadelphia National Labor Relations Board. But, what I cherish most about this experience is the number of international students with whom I've become friends. It's safe to say that I'll have personalized tour guides if I were to visit Ghana, India, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan, France, China, Pakistan, or Canada.

What advice would you offer others who are considering graduate school?

I would urge them to research the return on investment of programs. Some of the price tags, unfortunately, do not correspond with the marketability of the degree. This is especially true of non-elite private law schools. Don't assume that these credentials automatically make one better off in the labor market. The real strength of a professional program lies in its networking opportunities and campus recruiting services. A degree may look impressive on a résumé, but that's no replacement for meeting the person who does the hiring and having them come directly to you with the express intent of selecting students from your program.

Please add any other thoughts about your experience in the MILR program, at Cornell, in Ithaca.

This program is well suited for students who know that they want to work in a profession dealing with the social sciences, but who are not exactly sure about what they want to do. The ILR School opens doors to careers in government, corporate human resources, consulting, labor unions, and nonprofit organizations. Given its five different concentrations and numerous course offerings, it is something of a liberal arts professional degree.

Cornell is an opulent campus in a beautiful college town. Counterintuitively, living in Ithaca signals to employers that one is mobile. Unlike programs in big cities, one is not likely to stay in Ithaca after completing the degree. So while some see the remoteness of Ithaca as a disadvantage, it is arguably one of our cardinal strengths in such a global world.

- Joshua Rosenberg Daneri, MILR '11