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Dhara Puvar

MILR, '21
Ithaca, New York
Human Resources & Organizations

Why did you choose the MILR program?

I chose the MILR program because it is truly the best place to study the world of work. Although I wanted to specialize in human resources and strengthen my business acumen in grad school, I also had a strong interest in labor relations and global issues. The MILR program's interdisciplinary nature provided me with the ability to take courses from across the university to fulfill my degree requirements and explore my interests. Moreover, the network at the ILR School is so strong. Our cohort is a tight-knit, supportive community and the faculty and staff are so hands-on in helping you achieve your personal and professional goals. From the wide array of companies that come to campus seeking MILR graduates to join their organizations to the alumni in leadership roles that return to Cornell to pass on their knowledge and experiences, the caliber of the program speaks for itself. I can't imagine being anywhere else! 

What has been your favorite class so far?

This is a tough one. My favorite classes have been HR Leadership: Views from the Top with Chris Collins, Mediating Organizational Conflicts with Ariel Avgar, and Advanced Critical Thinking with Risa Mish. The fact that I have taken exceptional courses in HR, dispute resolution, and in the business school is something that is truly unique to the MILR program. 

What is your favorite part of Ithaca?

Coming from Chicago, I always had a bias toward big cities. But I absolutely love the nature we have access to here in Ithaca - the trails, waterfalls, and Cayuga Lake are incredible. I definitely recommend spending a day at one of our local state parks. 

What advice would you give a prospective MILR student?

My biggest piece of advice is to take time periodically for self-reflection and focus on your own academic and career journey. With so many high achieving people in one cohort, it can be easy to succumb to imposter syndrome and feel out of place. Take time to understand your strengths and goals so that you can feel confident in your decisions and show up as your best self. There are endless opportunities that will be presented to you throughout this program, whether they are internships, courses, extracurriculars, and it can be very easy to become overwhelmed or compare your journey to others. This is where knowing yourself will be critical, so that you can work towards grad school experience and career path that is right for you. And while you do that, have fun! The program flies by, so take time to build friendships, enjoy Ithaca, and savor being a grad student at Cornell.  

Where did you intern during summer 2020?

This summer I interned at Cigna as an HR Summer Associate and at Deloitte as a Human Capital Summer Associate.

More about Dhara

Dhara received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Loyola University Chicago. Prior to the MILR program, she serves as the Executive Director of the South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI), an immigrant justice nonprofit focused on policy research.