Jennifer Bennett, MILR '06
Jennifer has just begun a six-month rotation in Buenos Aires, Argentina with Chevron. We recently invited her to write about her first impressions of practicing Human Resources in South America. She had the following to say:
I am currently in the Human Resources Development Program (HRDP) at Chevron. The program consists of four six-month rotations across the business with one international rotation. Right now, there are HRDPers in Bangkok, Lagos, Capetown, Buenos Aires, and Caracas. I did my first rotation in Global Workforce Development where I helped design and pilot a training program. I also evaluated and implemented recommendations including a computer based training for an intervention used to familiarize new leaders with their new set of direct reports.
I am three weeks into my second rotation in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We have field operations in four provinces, Neuquen, Rio Negro, Mendoza, and Santa Cruz. I am working at the main office in Buenos Aires. Right now I am learning the background for a couple of projects. I will be helping to implement a development program for engineers fresh from college called Horizons and an on-boarding program for all Chevron new employees in Argentina. I am also doing work on the Argentina HR Scorecard.
When I first arrived in Argentina I was, of course, flooded with Spanish. Thankfully, one of my undergrad majors was Spanish and I have been to Spain twice and Venezuela once. So, I have a pretty good foundation but I am certainly not fluent. Culturally, I have noticed several differences between the US and Argentina. The most obvious is the cheek to cheek kiss. Kisses are given every morning when coming into the office and every evening before leaving the office. It´s a way of saying ´´Hi´´ and ´´Bye´´. It is difficult at first but I know that I will quickly become accustomed to the greeting.
There is a lot of English spoken in Buenos Aires. In the office, the vast majority of people are able to communicate in English. However, it is quite important for me to speak Spanish so that I do not isolate myself. Though my coworkers in the office will speak English to me, they will speak Spanish among each other. I need to be able to participate in these conversations to build relationships. This is definitely something I work on every day.
So far I have enjoyed my assignment in Buenos Aires. I am learning quite a bit about the operations and Human Resources in the field. I know I have a lot more to learn and look forward to the many experiences I will have in Buenos Aires.
- Jennifer Bennett, MILR '06