Cornell University

International Programs

117 Ives Hall, 607-254-7255


November 20 2007

Hugh Mitchell's insight on international careers

Hugh MitchellThe opportunity to engage in conversation with Hugh Mitchell, HR Director at Royal Dutch Shell, drew a full house of interested ILR students. He traveled to Ithaca from The Hague on November 14 to attend a Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS) Sponsor Meeting and students were delighted and grateful that he scheduled time to meet with ILR students over lunch. The audience was primarily filled with budding HR professionals currently enrolled in a MILR degree. They eagerly asked about his experiences and advice to learn how to succeed in a global environment and career.

Keen to give students the most of his time he jumped right into a Q&A session. Hugh switched from talk of business strategy tapping into the various roles he has played at Shell, to how much he is still learning everyday. Undoubtedly he was well educated on what Shell’s competitors were engaged as well as what other non-related businesses were pursuing. This exemplified his mantra that a business mindset is important to continuously learn and create new possibilities for an organization. This is a key role played by HR that places it in a unique position to contribute as a strategic partners to business it supports as well as in helping shape success.

Discussion with Hugh MitchellHe talked extensively on international HR challenges. Predominantly this involves an intricate balance of a global war on talent and steering a business in an innovative and successful direction. Hugh believes that a sustainable competitive advantage for HR lies in identifying and managing changing needs of technical abilities within an organization and the changing array of demographic needs of a target population. As product, service and labor markets encompass the global arena it is important to look at non-traditional means to source talent.

His enthusiasm for his profession and Shell were unquestionable. It is with the same eagerness that he drives HR within Shell and encouraged ILR students to do the same. His key message was to stay open at all times to all opportunities and learn as much as once can professionally and personally. In his words great HR leaders are able empathize with a mutually manage business needs and the employee value proposition of an organization.

Hugh had made a great impression on students. Most remained well after the event ended to expand on the discussion. The event was sponsored by ILR International Programs and ILR Career Services.