Type: Process Essays
Sample donated: Billie Hoffman
Last updated: December 30, 2019
As a teenager, I founded ahenna art business in Seattle, and employed several artists to contract withsmall to large clients including Nintendo and Microsoft. This earlyentrepreneurial experience impressed upon me the importance of human capital; mybiggest challenges were not with inventory or marketing, but with developingand retaining employees. The henna business sparked my interest in talent, andsince joining Liberty Mutual after college, I have built functional HRknowledge in areas from compensation to employee relations. During the last few years, Iexperienced how technological advancements dramatically changed skill demands,employee expectations, and workplace cultures. Last year, when artificialintelligence software caused job redundancy, I conducted an employee layoffaffecting 600 people. I saw people at their most vulnerable, facing anuncertain job market or the loss of employer healthcare.
It was heartbreaking. Ialso found it deeply troubling to see how anxious the survivors of the layoff remainedafterwards, fearful of the next technological innovation. When cyclical layoffsoccur, the process of identifying who to let go becomes a futile and painfultask for HR. Because of this experience, Idecided to become a consultant to help companies develop better HR tools tobreak the traumatic cycle of layoffs that will only accelerate with automationin the coming years.
To address this major issue, I want a Foster MBA in order togain a more holistic understanding of the links between finance, technology,and people processes. I do not have a formal education in traditionalmanagement disciplines, and with Foster’s core courses, like ‘Micro-Economics of Competition and Strategy’and ‘Financial Reporting and Analysis’,I will place human capital issues in context and grasp the interdisciplinarynature of most business problems. My immediate post-MBA goal isto join the people analytics group at an established global consultancy such asBoston Consulting Group or Deloitte. After consulting for a five to seven yearsand learning best practices, I aspire to return to my entrepreneurial roots andbuild a boutique human capital consultancy utilizing predictive insights.As a native Seattleite having livedin the city during the Amazon-induced tech boom, I’ve seen how technologicalinnovation can be a force with more potential to create rather than extinguish jobs.Businesses must invest in human capital strategies to realize this potential, forinstance, by leveraging analytics to generate predictive talent forecasts. InHR, we have struggled to keep up with rapid technological change.
Improvementrequires an overhaul of longstanding processes, and expertise in advanced dataanalysis, which I do not have. At Foster, I will strengthen my quantitativecapabilities through courses such as ‘ForecastingModels in Business’ and ‘Supply ChainManagement’, which complement my HR experiences. Through the AppliedStrategy Project, I can refine my soft skills in negotiation and presentation whileon a project team.
This experience will be invaluable when communicating withclients on consulting engagements. Solving multifaceted business problems andproducing recommendations in nine weeks confirmed that Foster’s pedagogy isideal for my hands-on style of learning, and will translate directly into mypost-MBA consulting career. I also intend to bring my HR perspective to myteams, and to learn from my peers, particularly those with backgrounds in law, sincelegislation often affects employment practices.Beyond my coursework, I will engage with Foster’sdynamic student and alumni community through the Diversity in Business Club andFoster Creative. From speaking with alumna Lydia Islan (’17) about Foster’sConsulting Society, I know I will find a supportive group of peers and mentorsfor one on one case interview preparation in my first year, and I will be able tocontribute in my second year by preparing first-year students.
Given my long-termentrepreneurial goal, I will participate in the Business Plan Competitionthrough the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship to try testing and pitching anidea. Additionally, Foster is the best fit for my MBA because I care deeplyabout Seattle and local nonprofits. I intend to be a Board Fellow and add TeamRead and Rainier Scholars to the list of nonprofit boards that Foster MBAs canserve with. Combining my previous HRknowledge with a Foster MBA, I will be able to successfully transition into acareer in consulting, and ultimately be equipped to launch a consulting firmthat addresses human capital issues alongside the inevitable technologicaldisruptions that will continue to change when, where, and how people work.