Smith’s unique Executive MBA helped this HR professional develop a global perspective
SIMALCO Brandlink | March 10, 2022
For Luis Enrique Hong Cruz, working as a human resources professional, helping people improve their skills and experience is a powerful tool for company growth and performance.
It’s an insight he gained while completing his engineering undergrad at the Universidad de Lima. “I didn’t have a clear idea of what type of job, industry or area I was looking for,” he recalls, explaining that the early 2000s the political and economic situation in Peru was fraught. A great opportunity to join Falabella – a Chilean Retail firm with a presence in South America – as a payroll intern introduced him to the world of human resources.
“I was selected to be part of their high-potential leadership program, which helped me finish my education at Lima’s university. I held progressive roles within human resources, crossing multiple areas including recruitment, payroll and training.”
The experience marked the beginning of an extensive career in the field, spanning retail, mining and banking. Luis followed up his engineering degree with a post-graduate specialization in human factor management at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas and has amassed 16 years’ experience in the sector, the last nine with Scotiabank.
His latest role as director of incentive compensation came months after making the decision to pursue his MBA.
“By 2018, I was already a seasoned HR professional, but had a huge desire to keep growing professionally. The challenges are different as you assume more responsibilities,” he explains of his decision to go back to school. He also wanted to develop a global mindset as he began travelling to Scotiabank headquarters in Toronto for various projects.
He found a program that could deliver both: the Executive MBA Americas, a partnership between Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University.
The only program of its kind in the world, with the EMBA Americas graduates earn MBA degrees from both Cornell and Queen’s. Classes are led by faculty from both schools, with participants hailing from across Canada, the U.S. and Latin America.
“The truly international management education experience with the opportunity to share classes and experiences with colleagues from a wide variety of backgrounds and sectors was very appealing to me,” Luis notes.
The program’s team-based learning approach and balanced schedule were also a draw. Participants in the EMBA Americas are assigned to a team for the duration of the program. They join classes every other weekend, virtually via boardroom learning centres or from their home or office depending on geographic location and work requirements. On-campus sessions, held at both schools, help to strengthen participants’ learning, and grow their network.
“The balanced schedule created minimal disruption to the work week, and the combination of on-campus sessions and videoconference learning technology allowed students from across Latin America, Canada and the U.S. to share the classroom together. I was able to take classes in various boardrooms across the Americas, such as Lima, Santiago, Mexico, Toronto, New York City and Ithaca,” Luis says.
He credits the program with providing him the tools to stretch himself as a member of a team, strengthen his leadership presence, and take his strategic thinking to the next level, whether participating in executive discussions, leading strategic projects or advising senior management.
“The EMBA also opened geographical and cultural frontiers to keep exploring as a family,” Luis says, explaining that he and his wife are making the move to Canada, where he will continue his role with Scotiabank governing and leading the design of variable compensation plans in the Americas. “I also connected with my Chinese background during the program and awakened a curiosity to learn Mandarin and more about Chinese culture.”
As Luis embarks on this new chapter in his human resources career, he is grateful to bring with him a strong network of friends and colleagues. “Nowadays we’re always connecting amongst each other on professional and personal situations. The class of 2020 is a key part of my support system and an invaluable asset that I gained in the program.”
Looking to find out how the Executive MBA Americas can help you reach your career goals? Tune in March 24 for a special webinar featuring a presentation from Smith professor Moez Ali, followed by details on how the EMBA Americas program covers all of the essential skills required of business leaders today. Register now!
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