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Kathleen Beer

Chicago, IL
Executive Master of Human Resource Management

Where are you from?

I am from the Midwest and currently live in the Chicago area.

How or why did you decide to come to Cornell for the EMHRM program?

I decided on the Cornell EMHRM program because the Cornell ILR School is world-renowned and I valued its reputation as a thought leader. I also wanted to be part of a structured program designed specifically to develop business-minded Human Resource leaders. I was thoroughly impressed with the breadth and depth of HR expertise and research at Cornell; accomplished faculty; and also the curriculum tailored to business leaders in the field of HR that balanced theory with real world application.  Lastly, I really wanted a program that involved time on campus where I could interface with fellow students and faculty. I considered executive MBA and Master's HR programs that were local, but ultimately found that with the lengthier onsite sessions  in Ithaca the total time on campus was comparable. And, as a working mom, the combination of online work with campus visits had the right amount of flexibility for my already demanding professional and personal schedule.

What are some highlights of the program?

I loved the on campus sessions. The face-to face interaction and opportunity to learn from the faculty, industry leaders, experienced CHROs and high caliber classmates was invaluable.  Additionally, our cohort was amazingly thoughtful and well connected. It was wonderful to be a part of this supportive and collaborative group of strong HR leaders around the world. 

Describe your experience of working online.

I appreciated how the courses were scheduled in that you were able to fit it into your schedule as a busy professional (i.e. early mornings, late nights or weekends) but that it also kept you on pace. The courses all focused on topics I was interested in and in which I wanted to improve. In the video based lectures, case studies and assignments, I often found similar issues that I was I was dealing with in my own organization and so was able to easily relate to the course material.  It helped me to step back, reflect on current practices and learn things to help my organization improve. I also valued the thoughtful feedback from the professors on my weekly assignments and that they were always available for a phone call or question. Additionally, it was great to be able to interact with fellow students on real world application in between campus sessions, whether via the text or the live video chats.

What is some advice for someone who is looking to do the EMHRM program?

It is a fantastic experience, but it is an intense program. This can be very challenging to balance with a full time job and family responsibilities.  Be prepared to flex your time management muscles and make sure to get support systems in place. Additionally, take advantage of how in all the courses there is some aspect you can pull into your day job. This will not only help you in your role, but also better absorb what you are learning by applying it to what you are currently working on. 

Where do you work?

Brunswick Corporation. In my HR Director role, I lead HR for Corporate & Enterprise Functions.

How has the program helped you in your current role?

This program has enabled me to develop a broader view of business and become a more versatile HR leader, ultimately strengthening my ability to add value and make a real business impact.  Additionally, it drove me to stretch, better understand my leadership style as well as think deeply about my aspirations, which has prepared me to take on larger leadership roles.