Cornell University

Graduate Degree Programs

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Student Profile

Kathryn Frank, MILR '10

Kathryn Frank, MILR ’10 relates she has no regrets about making the decision to attend graduate school.


Kathryn Frank

After completing two semesters in the MILR program, in the summer ‘09, Kathryn Frank participated in an internship in the engineering division of GE Aviation in Cincinnati, Ohio. This past month, after completing her MILR degree, Frank begins a new chapter in her life in the Human Resources Leadership Development Program (HRLP) at GE Transportation in Erie, PA. Kathryn, a native of Morehead City, N.C. completed her BA at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill before making the decision to pursue a graduate degree at ILR.

Kathryn shares how attending ILR provided experiences which allow her to be more confident and effective on the job.

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

"At some point in my college career, it became clear to me that although I had learned a lot through my undergraduate education, it would be very difficult for me to make inroads into the field of human resources without gaining a lot of relevant work experience or obtaining an advanced degree. Attending a professional master’s program would provide me the opportunity to translate my liberal arts background into a much narrower and more marketable degree – in essence, graduate school was a stepping stone between what I had and what I wanted."

What was your method of researching possible programs?

"As an undergrad, I was lucky enough to receive the mentorship of a management professor. This professor was extremely knowledgeable about appropriate master’s programs, recent research publications in the fields of human resources and organizational behavior, and the quality of the faculty at various graduate schools. This professor and I created a list of five schools that he recommended and that I was qualified to attend. After the application process, I began to look at the earnings of graduates, the companies that recruited on campus and the courses offered. Armed with that information, I narrowed my search and began speaking to professors at my top choices about the program characteristics -- culture, size, faculty-to-student ratio, global focus -- and potential post-graduation opportunities."

Why did you choose the master’s of industrial and labor relations degree (MILR)?

"I chose the MILR for several reasons. The program seemed to provide balanced exposure to both current academic research and current issues faced by practitioners. The faculty at the ILR school covered a broad span of expertise, which I thought would allow me to learn about various perspectives and experiences. The course listing was extensive. The degree provides a concentration, which helped make sure that there was some degree of specialization, but flexible enough to let you create your own educational experience. The companies participating in on-campus recruiting and campus events were very global in nature."

How was your experience in the ILR Graduate Program?

"I have no regrets about attending graduate school. I developed close relationships with my classmates and professors – it is a very close-knit group. I held a few board positions, which allowed me to shape my experience, as well as the experience of my classmates. I gained access to a huge network of HR professionals, both alumni and those practitioners that participated in on-campus events. Last but not least, I graduated with a job offer that I am proud to have accepted."

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

"I would have to say one of the most memorable experiences was the CAHRS (The Center for Advanced Human Resources Studies) Executive Roundtable event my first year at ILR. I was shocked to be given the opportunity to talk with such high-level executives before classes had even begun. That event really set the tone for the amount of corporate exposure I would experience during my time at Cornell."

How have you benefitted from attending ILR and Cornell?

"Attending ILR not only made me look better on paper to an employer, but also provided me experiences that will allow me to be more confident and effective on the job."

Any other thoughts to share about your experience in the ILR Graduate Program?

"I was so impressed by how much faculty members were willing to do to help me be successful – whether it is in class, in extracurricular activities or on the job market. I cannot thank the faculty enough for being so generous with their time, their contacts and their advice."

- Kathryn Frank, MILR '10