Where are you from?
Originally I am from the UK, but I grew up on the opposite side of the world in New Zealand. I joined my current company, ExxonMobil, in the New Zealand office and then moved with the company to Guam and Singapore before settling in Melbourne, Australia for eleven years. Two years ago I moved to my current location of Houston, Texas.
How or why did you decide to come to Cornell for the EMHRM program?
During my eighteen years with ExxonMobil to date, I have developed my HR capabilities significantly through challenging work assignments and internal HR, organization effectiveness and leadership training programs. At this point in my career, having recently taken on a strategic, global HR role, I was looking to challenge myself intellectually, grow my knowledge of my profession and ready myself to take on more senior and more challenging positions in the future.
What are some highlights of the program?
The diversity of topics covered in the program is great, and aligns very well with what I am working on in my job. I have always found that my studies are more successful when the content is aligned with my interest or passion areas, so the curriculum of the Cornell program has enabled me to go into greater depth on topics that I enjoy and relate directly back to my work.
Describe your experience of working online.
While it is a challenge to motivate yourself to sit down and study at the end of a long work day or week, the Cornell EMHRM program is structured in a way that allows a busy working professional to tackle manageable chunks of material at a time, without getting too overwhelmed. I have found that the various mediums in which course material is offered and assessed (reading, short ‘lecture’ videos, interactive discussion threads and written projects) keep it interesting and engaging.
What is some advice for someone who is looking to do the EMHRM program?
Be prepared to commit your ‘me’ time to study. For busy working professionals, studying at the same time takes commitment, so you have to ‘want to do it’. One of the reasons I chose the Cornell program was because it was a 15-month program, however because it is shorter, it’s more condensed, so when the program is running you need to be running too! But while you need to commit to give up a lot of your time to study, it’s only for 15 months, and the rewards are amazing!
Where do you work?
I work as an HR Manager for our global Fuels and Commercial & Trading businesses at ExxonMobil. I am based at our head office in Houston, Texas.
How has the program helped you in your current role?
I believe that the Cornell EMHRM, through its curriculum content and learning delivery approach, is providing me with the opportunity to expand my knowledge rather than just reinforce it, and is allowing me to gain external perspectives through engagement with the faculty and the participating cohort, both online and in person at the campus sessions. The EMHRM program focus on strategic and global HR, linkage with business strategy and performance, organizational change, diversity and inclusion, and innovation, are intrinsic to my current role and enable me to apply my learning directly to my current work and ensure consolidation of that knowledge for future application.