Human Resources Coordinator at Unilever Peru and Part-time Professor at the Faculty of Business Administration at Lima University

"Being in an international class helped me to think out of the box"

Erika-COM-testimonialnieuwErika Guanilo, aged 30
Graduated in 2010 
Human Resources Coordinator at Unilever Peru
and Part-time Professor at the Faculty of
Business Administration at Lima University

What do you do for a living?
I’m employed on two institutions that I really love, since they match my life style and professional expectations very well. On the corporate side, I’m a Human Resources Coordinator at Unilever Peru.  My role combines routine tasks with a Business Partner position. At the same time, I work on Employer Brand projects with university relations and the academic community. This is how I got a chance to also be a professor at Lima University. I work part-time at the Faculty of Business Administration and I’m currently teaching a course called ‘Staffing and Evaluations Management’.

What do you like about your job?
At Unilever I’m involved in developing talent, something I really love doing. My job allows me to help line managers to build teams that will contribute to the success of the strategy in terms of training, staffing and compensations. I also love my job as a professor. I really enjoy teaching. It allowes me to keep updated on my thesis research, that involved the study of Generation Y, and to validate my work in the sense of their career expectations and their motivations for the labor market.

What aspects of your job relate to the Master’s programme you followed at VU University Amsterdam?
Being in an international class helped me to think out of the box. My classmates not just had different nationalities but also various professional backgrounds. That enables me to adopt to situations in which I have to deal with international projects and executing international policies to our local needs.
COM also gave me a critical perspective, that now helps me to make my students reflect on their future professional life and their role in the community. That has become a very relevant topic for this generation. I believe that is my duty as a professor to help them find a way to contribute to our community as professionals but at the same time as real conscious citizens.

Did having this Master’s degree help in any way to get your job?
It certainly did, but I also believe that everyone is the owner of his or her own professional development. Getting these jobs was a combination of my previous work experience, my education and my attitude and motivations to take my career to the next level. COM helped me to discover competences I did not know I had, but at the same time made me realize that there is a long way to go for learning and discovering many views of diversity and its impact on companies.

Why did you choose this Master’s, and what job did you expect to find with this degree?
Being a business graduate helps me understand the way a company must work in order to sustain its competitive advantage, but COM gave the outlook to question the purposes of the way of working. In human resources it is key to understand how talent behavior inside teams works, and when I saw that COM offers this sociological perspective that I had missing, I applied.
What I was looking for after finishing the programme, was to match my business background with my obtained social focus. It is crucial to balance those two in order to support a company with the most suitable organizational architecture, is based on committed and talented people.

What should students expect of life after graduation?
From me, it is that critical way of thinking that helps me to question any project that comes to me. This is very valuable on the labour market, since any industry needs people who have learned to think that there is always a different way to go. Personally it will also keep you alert and open to learn, and it is by learning that we grow.

Do you have any recommendations for students for their education or careers?
Be passionate on whatever you decide to do. Keep in mind that your studies will allow you to get your dream job. But it is with passion and commitment that you can go as far as you desire to. You are the owner of your career and responsible to manage and take it as far as you want to. Yes, it is hard work but anything that is worth it will demand sacrifices and falls. But the rewards will be incredible for your life.