“I learned compensation is an art.”
Without any doubt, the Credit Internship is and will remain one of the biggest highlights of my undergraduate career. During my semester at SunGard, a private information technology company based in Pennsylvania, I not only gained a taste of most Human Resources functions, I narrowed my desired career goal to compensation.
My main project was to develop a salary planning process for over 200 corporate employees from the Legal, Treasury, Human Resources and a variety of other departments, both domestic and international. The spreadsheet had to be highly automated, that is, able to robotically convert wages into U.S. salaries, calculate increases and display a live budget pool. It also needed to be simple to understand for managers, and, most important, capture sensitive compensation information accurately. Two and a half months later, the spreadsheet was complete and distributed to managers. The salary planning processes could then officially begin.
Other compensation projects involved analyzing new laws and their implications for the company, which exposed me to compensation history and other background. We analyzed and prepared reports and calculations for the Chief Human Resources Officer on cost-saving implications of proposed new laws relating to tax rates. Extensive research was done, for example, on the Dodd-Frank “Say on Pay” law.
Lastly, I was given the opportunity to benchmark compensation either for new positions or revamped existing positions. Analyzing the data of multiple industry surveys and job descriptions and comparing them to SunGard’s data, led me to realize how much compensation is an art dominated by judgment rather than a fixed process. I realized the important contribution experience makes to success.
My coursework at ILR provided a solid foundation for this HR internship. “Intro to HR” taught me the basics of compensation, providing an overall picture of the processes and goals. “Advanced Statistical Analysis” equipped me with tools and knowledge to analyze compensation data.
Since my return to Cornell, I have enrolled in a compensation course – the first of several I will take in the time I have left in Cornell.
- Patrick Liu, '12