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Graduate Programs Blog

Graduate Programs Blog

Silvia Zamora

Headshot of Silvia
MILR/MBA, '21
Ithaca, NY
MILR/MBA, Human Resources & Organizations Concentration

Why did you choose the MILR program, and why did you decide to pursue the dual MILR/MBA degree?

As an aspiring business and HR leader, I was looking to gain a more in-depth understanding of the psychological, organizational, and legal forces at play in people strategy. The MILR program offered me the opportunity to study directly from Prof. Brad Bell and Prof. Chris Collins who are thought leaders in the areas of Strategic Human Resources and HR driving knowledge creation and employee engagement. Additionally, the MILR program has been recognized year-over-year by multiple rankings as the nation’s top Master’s program in Labor Relations; attracting top academics and professionals and giving me the opportunity to network with HR leaders nation-wide. 

I believe the MILR coursework is highly complementary to the financial and strategy focus I have gained while completing my MBA at SC Johnson Graduate School of Management. Through the MILR, I will be able to study the dynamics behind issues such as employee relations and organizational psychology that were briefly introduced by the Critical Strategic Thinking and Management Cases courses at the business school.

I am confident that through this 2.5-year dual-degree program, I will be able to build a solid foundation in finance and HR management while having a deep understanding of the social and psychological issues at play in the workforce.

What class are you most looking forward to taking in the MILR program?

I am most looking forward to the class “Views from the Top” with Prof. Chris Collins to learn about his model for HR leadership and how to set and drive organizational culture. This class has a remarkable roaster of Fortune 500 HR officers as guest speakers, who will engage in insightful discussions with students about the challenges they have overcome in their careers.  I am eager to gain their perspective and learn from their experience.  

What is your favorite part of Ithaca?

Ithaca is a picturesque town surrounded by gorgeous nature – lakes, cascades, and many hiking trails. Living here has inspired me to be more outdoorsy and discover my newfound passion for hiking! Also, in contrast to city-living, attending school in a small town has allowed me and my classmates to spend quality time together and form strong friendships.

What advice would you give a prospective MILR/MBA student?

I would strongly recommend that they reach out and connect with current students to learn more about their experience at the program and see if this matches with their academic aspirations and career goals.

Where did you intern during summer 2020?

This past summer I interned at Prudential Financial as Human Resources Lead Summer Associate in the International Insurance division.

More about Silvia

Silvia received her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. Prior to Cornell, she worked for six years; she started as a strategic planning analyst in the airline industry and was promoted to commercial strategy manager. In this role, Silvia discovered her passion for team dynamics and helped establish internal employee development programs. Through a co-worker connection, she was offered the opportunity to head the Organizational Development and Internal Communications team at an oil and gas company. Silvia took this opportunity and successfully led the cultural transformation of the organization during its first year of new leadership.