Rano Burkhanova, MILR '04
MILR Alumna, Rano Burkhanova, talks about her time at ILR and international career with Elsevier. She also shares her thoughts on how ILR students should prepare for international careers.
AS: Can you please tell us about your current role at Elsevier?
RB: I joined Elsevier, a leading Dutch medical and scientific publisher, in November 2007 and work in the New York office as part the Global Organizational Learning and Development team.
In my role as a Talent Manager, I am involved in various interesting projects that are aimed to further organizational effectiveness and talent management initiatives across the company. The work of our team is global in nature, and I really enjoy that aspect. I help manage the annual talent review process, which is supposed to assess the bench strength of the organization’s talent and identify potential talent gaps and succession risks. I also manage a global leadership development program that focuses on increasing leadership effectiveness and, in turn, improving business outcomes for the company. Another important new initiative, in which I serve as a project manager, is the development of a training program on change management. This is a critical business need, as the company is going though constant transformation, streamlining processes and moving from print to digital publishing.
AS: What was the career path that brought you to where you are today? Can you share with us your international experiences?
RB: Upon graduating from the MILR program in May 2004, I was offered an exciting opportunity to join the HR Leadership Development Program at Medtronic’s international headquarters in Switzerland. My assignment was in the Learning and Talent function, where I helped manage regional leadership development programs and launched a number of general skills training courses catered to all employees. I was also involved in performance management and talent management processes across the region. With the diversity of geographic regions, languages, cultures and legal systems within Europe, I learned about the "true" meaning of diversity and the importance of considering all view points and angels in everything you do. During my experience of working and living in Switzerland, I not only had the opportunity to improve my French and explore Europe but also gain invaluable skills of working in a global multicultural environment. I find these skills extremely valuable in my current role of working for a European company in the US.
AS: How would you recommend current ILR students prepare for working in a global environment (in class, out of class, summer opportunities, etc.)?
RB: There are many ways nowadays to prepare for working and succeeding in a global environment, starting with the Internet research and international curriculum at the ILR School. I would certainly recommend choosing courses that focus on real life projects for multinational companies that deal with global issues and work with faculty that specializes in this area. I would also advise taking advantage of the new opportunities to study abroad and wish they were available when I was an MILR student! However, I would not underestimate the importance of making connections with international students in both graduate and undergraduate programs, becoming a member of international student organizations and attending various international events on campus.
AS: We would love to hear any reflections on your time at ILR, did you have an international experience while you were here? How have you decided to pursue a career in HR, etc?
RB: My experience at the MILR program was truly enjoyable and allowed me to grow personally, academically and professionally. I loved living in Ithaca and enjoyed a variety of cultural and social events offered on campus. The quality of the curriculum and the faculty at ILR is outstanding and the support received from the professors and school administration was very helpful. I appreciated the flexibility of the curriculum and being able to take courses in other schools. The school helped open many doors for me and my fellow international students. Together with the international students from the class before mine, we saw the need to create the first MILR international student association. The association has now grown together with international students' contributions to enriching the academic and social environments in the school.
AS: What advice would you give to the ILR students who would like to pursue international HR careers?
RB: It's critical to be upfront and clear about your career interests and aspirations. The choice of the company that you intern with is also important, as it gives you an opportunity to "interview" the company and explore options for careers in international HR. In my case, the manager I worked with during my summer internship with Medtronic in Arizona recommended me for an international assignment in Switzerland due to my passion for French and interest in building a career in international HR. You can also work with the Career Services office to obtain a list of companies that have offered international rotations and opportunities for creating international HR careers to ILR students and graduates in the past.
AS: Anything else you would like to share with us?
RB: As an international student previously living in Moscow, Russia, it was very challenging for me to find funding for graduate school. I was fortunate to win the Perkins Memorial Scholarship arranged through the partnership between the ILR School and the Telluride Association that made it possible for me to study there. I am very grateful for this opportunity and have learned a lot from the experience of being part of the Telluride House community.
Ithaca holds a special place in my heart. My friends and I have a tradition of visiting Ithaca every summer to escape from the city and get our "Ithaca fix" for the whole year!"