Master of Industrial and Labor Relations (MILR)

Steven Oakley

MILR '18

Human Resources & Organizations

Atlanta, GA

Favorite part of the MILR Program?

Without question, the people. Our cohort is not just a band of students on a two-year journey. Rather, we are family and support each other academically, professionally, and personally. They are some of the best all-around people I have ever known. I can recount many times I have faced challenges, only to be lifted up by my friends. I am lucky to spend my time with this group of people and feel fortunate to continue these relationships into the future.

Favorite part of Ithaca?

All the surrounding nature! As someone who loves the outdoors, I can’t think of a better place. You have natural beauty all around, from gorges running through the middle of campus, the resplendent colors of the fall foliage, and not to mention, the beautiful finger lakes. Likewise, I have loved our class events from going hiking in the Catskills, camping in the Adirondacks, to picking apples in the top-rated orchard in the country.

Advice for a Prospective Student

Know yourself, set goals on how you want to develop during your time in the program, and strategically choose your activities to fulfill these goals. There are countless ways to get involved, but only so much time to do so within two short years. I believe there are two key ways to accomplish this. First, build relationships with your fellow cohort and faculty. We are lucky to be surrounded by so many great people; don’t underestimate their ability to inform your goals. Second, I believe the model Dr. Collins talks about in his HRM class is spot-on. As he suggests, identify 4-5 competencies to improve on and set a goal to focus on two each term. In particular, I believe customizing the classes you choose, your extracurriculars, and other developmental opportunities to this is essential. However, my one caveat to all of this, have fun with your cohort through this process!

Summer Internship Location

Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ

Highlight from Summer Internship

My highlight was successfully recommending a new initiative that contributes to the key company objective of recruiting and developing a diverse workforce. At first, the project involved developing diversity metrics within talent acquisition. However, after my partner and I analyzed the situation, we determined that the core problem involved employee inclusion. As such, we developed inclusion metrics to roll out early in the employee lifecycle. After securing the buy-in of key stakeholders, my partner and I successfully presented our recommendation to the HR Executive Board, who were eagerly willing to carry on our recommendations after the internship.

The MILR program does a phenomenal job teaching us not to be subservient HR professionals, but rather, strategic partners to the business. Looking back, I am very thankful to have the autonomy to shape my project in such a way I could have a lasting impact.

More About Steven

  • Job Placement Post-Graduation: Human Resource Leadership Development Associate - Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • Undergraduate School and Degree: Liberty University, Philosophy & Religion