Cornell University

Graduate Degree Programs

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Student Profile

Paul D'Souza, MILR '10

Theoretical Concepts, Real-World Application: Paul D’Souza discusses how balance of classroom time and practical experience drew him to ILR Graduate Programs.


Paul D'Souza grew up in Hong Kong, China, and spent his undergraduate years at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is interning this summer at Merck & Co. in Whitehouse Station, N.J. This fall, D'Souza will study in Paris, France, as a Master's in Management candidate in the ILR/ESCP Europe dual-degree program.

In an interview, he talked about choosing ILR and the benefits of his Cornell experiences.

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

"Prior to graduate school, I had worked in university research labs, as well as in the non-profit sector. In those positions, I began to develop an interest in organizational structure, behavior and development. Graduate school seemed like the best opportunity to advance my limited knowledge of this field." 

What was your method of researching possible programs?

"I was looking for a program that was well known, challenging and something that would also act as a springboard into a new career. A professor at the lab where I worked suggested I look at the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology website. I also talked to my professors. One of my mentors at UCLA, a Cornell alumnus, suggested I look at the ILR School."

What was the most difficult aspect in deciding to attend graduate school?

“The financial consideration was probably the most difficult aspect. I think it is very difficult to imagine spending this amount of money. However, I balanced my worries about the cost with my desire to learn.”

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

"The MILR program offered an approach to the field that balanced practical experience with classroom time. I was interested in a program where I could put theoretical concepts into real-world practice. Furthermore, a PhD program, which would have been my other choice, just seemed so long and arduous."

How was your experience in the ILR Grad Program?

"I had a great experience in the program. The faculty was welcoming and approachable. My personal experience with the career services staff has been outstanding. In my time here, I have not met any member of faculty or staff who was unwilling to take the time to listen and help if they were able."

"One of the best things about the program is that I was not restricted in taking classes only at the ILR School. As long as the classes were relevant, I could and did take classes in other schools. This enhanced my experience in the program because it allowed me to tie my disparate interests together."

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

"There have been many memorable experiences in my two years at the ILR School. If I had to pick one, it would be the project I worked on in one of my classes around leadership development with the chief human resource officer of IBM acting as our group's mentor. The exposure to individuals who are at the top of one's field makes for very memorable experiences."

How have you benefitted from attending ILR and Cornell?

"Professionally, ILR and Cornell have been keys that have opened doors that I might not have been able to get through otherwise and, in fact, did not even know existed. In my last internship experience, as well as in interactions with executives who come to the ILR School and Cornell, I realized the prestige and respect associated with those names. When talking to professionals in the field, being associated with ILR seems to automatically confer certain intellectual and professional acumen."

- Paul D'Souza, MILR '10