Great Time to be Latino?

I read this article in the Harvard Business Review Blog (Hispanic Talent Is the Future for Big Companies) the other day and started pondering about the position that I am in right now as a Latino. One notion that struck really hard was this:

By 2050, Hispanics will represent over half of the nation’s workforce.

I look around at Cummins HQ and we have a much diverse group of people representing almost all nations from around the world.  We want to harness as much diversity as possible, I have written about that some time ago.

Tapping into this rapidly-growing pool of workers will require a mix of traditional values and forward-thinking practices. The important role work plays in creating paths for upward mobility in many Hispanics’ lives suggest that companies should emphasize well-thought-out career development options – attractive promotion possibilities and access to resources required to attain them. To the extent possible, career advances should be accompanied by status-related recognition, including titles or other symbolic designations (such as badging) that can be easily shared with an extended community.

The article notes to companies that their future lays in taping into this segment of the population, to do this they will have to change their culture.  I would agree that:

  1. Latinos are a growing demographic in the United States, there is no denying this is true.
  2. Companies don’t really have a strategy for this demographic, other than going to conferences like NSHMBA.

Having said this, I don’t think that they really need to cater to my demographic; they should be MORE demographic agnostic. Knowing that Latinos like to be recognized, does not mean that as a company we need to have new ways of recognizing.  Even worst, targeting Latinos to these programs.  I am sure that there are other cultures / demographics / backgrounds that DO NOT like these public demonstrations of recognition.  I am not saying that companies would want to abolish the recognition either.  Companies need to set guidelines, processes and procedures for the good of the company.

Just like I would not think it would be fair to cater to another demographic element of the population, I would not want the company to put special procedures for me.

Had this article been about how do we recruit Hispanic talent that is currently being lost because companies are not recognized in Hispanic groups.  Or how can companies demonstrate they are truly committed to diversity.  That would be something that would be compelling, but telling companies they need to change their culture to cater to one group is simply unacceptable.




Your Alumni Network

I still remember the talk during orientation where our group was told the importance of the school’s brand.  How we were to go out and remember our school, the students, the professors, and the alumni.  We were not just getting a degree, were were being meshed into a network.

I can’t deny that I was excited, I really was.  I met second year MBA that were just great.  They taught me how to improve my resume, how to go after interviews, they even connected me to other second year students that had worked at places where I wanted to work.  I also met faculty and staff that lent a helping hand in finding a place for me.  I can’t deny that I also met a few alumni, most older professionals that thought our program  was great and wanted to contribute.  The one group that I didn’t really see, were recent grads.  The people that had graduate year before I started my MBA.

I didn’t give it much thought until I was a second year students, and there were first year students that I thought should meet recent grads that I knew, “my” second year students.  I discovered that they were very willing to help, but few were being asked to contribute.  They were recent hires, so there were in no position to extend offers.  They had very little experience in the field they were working in, so I guess people didn’t think they were important.

I thought differently, I thought that they held key knowledge of how company’s recruited.  They knew enough people to connect first year students.  They were not influencers, but they were people of trust.  They also had all the interview and resume knowledge and could critique the work of MBA Students.  They are also the link to past generations of MBA Alumni, and that would grow the overall network.

It has almost been a year since I graduated, so I am a recent grad.  I talked to the person responsible for Alumni Affairs and also to the head of MBA placement.  I told them that I did not want to be the missing link.  I wanted to continue being involved with new students and help in any way possible.  I was particularly interested in international students, I being also an international student felt that I could bring some additional knowledge.

Over the past 10 months I’ve been trying to be involved with recruiting for Cummins.  I have been able to meet wonderful students, and tried to make myself available to as many as I can.  I don’t know all the incoming class, but I do know quite a few.  I don’t believe in karma, but I do fell that we need to pay forward for all the help we get in order to get a job.

I would be more than happy to help our school. Regarding the interns, I would be more than happy to talk to them. Feel free to ask them to give me a call anytime and I can talk to them too. — Alumni

The other wonderful think I have discovered is tapping the shoulder of the Alumni Network.  I have sent a not to all BYU MBAs at Cummins a personal note, just introducing myself.  All have responded positevely.  Next I have asked them if they would like to be involved in the recruiting efforts of the company; all have agreed.  Right now I know of 15 BYU MBA Alumni that work for Cummins, imagine how the 6 interns this summer will feel when they will meet, face to face or virtually, all of these people.  These are Alumni that want their peers to succeed, and before had not participated because they hadn’t been asked.

I now live the teachings from that day in orientation.  I can see how I am part of a network bigger than my graduating class.  Many times I struggle to expand my network at work, forgetting that there are alumni that are more than happy to connect with me and further my career.  I also want to make it explicit that there is an onus on you to be available, to be open, to engender trust to your fellow alumni.  It is my hope that we can all be more open and find that strength in OUR alumni network.