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Highered Chief Talent Officer, Dr. Amber Wigmore Alvarez, shares her reflections on an extraordinary year for talent in her year-end message to the Highered talent community, as well as very personal tips on her own career journey.

Dear Highered talent community,

At the end of the calendar year, most of us like to slow down and reflect. I would like to take a moment to share some of Highered’s 2021 highlights, as well as my own personal tips and action points in order to make your next strategic career move, including the conversation I will be having these days with my own superiors (see “Stay Interview” tips).

You showed up.

There were so many ways that Highered talent showed up in 2021, which in turn allowed Highered to engage in unique recruiting initiatives and employer engagement and create an upskilling service breakthrough:

  • I was honestly in awe of how the talent community responded to the EFMD Global Virtual Fairs, showing up in full-force in April and October to connect with thousands of recruiters from 200+ companies and organizations, with a total of 60,000+ booth visits! This was absolutely phenomenal and we are already planning the 2022 edition for those of you who loved this type of employer engagement. The recruiters certainly enjoyed meeting you! 
  • Highered was proud to showcase a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) focus at the October edition, featuring top speakers from corporate partners such as Mondelēz International, L’Oréal Group, AB InBev and International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank Group, to share insights around their DEI goals and actions. This uniquely positioned Highered to host Google’s 1st Disability Conference (DisCo), for professionals in EMEA, at the beginning of December. We pledge to continue positioning Highered’s diverse talent pool to secure excellent opportunities in leading and inclusive global workplaces.
  • As a result of your enthusiasm, the Highered Student Ambassador Program was relaunched and we are on a mission to have at least one Highered Student Ambassador at each of the more than 700+ business schools in our network around the globe. Check out the map and if we do not yet have an Ambassador at your school we welcome your candidacy. I personally wish to thank our extremely dedicated Student Ambassadors who so many of you have met on our now weekly #GetHigheredThursdays IGTV live on the GetHighered Instagram account.
  • You shared your insights on upskilling and the results were compelling. 80% of you believe that you will need more than your school degree to land the job of your dreams. With this input, Highered created and launched a unique employability initiative with Coursera  the Highered Employability Skills Academy accessible via your school’s platform. The Highered Employability Skills Academy offers a unique curated selection of courses and Guided Projects provided by Coursera’s corporate content providers, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, BCG and IBM, among many others. Take advantage of potential down time over the holidays to enroll, learn and earn certificates in a wide array of in-demand skills.

I showed up.

On a personal level, I was thrilled to get back on the road and teach Careers masterclasses on campuses such as ESADE (Barcelona, Spain) and Audencia Business School (Nantes, France). Of course, there were hundreds of other Highered masterclasses and speaking engagements which allowed me to connect virtually with talent all over the world, with hopes of one day meeting in person on your campus or at your future workplace as a Highered success story! A big shout out to those of you who were a part of our masterclasses and especially those who put yourselves in the spotlight during CV Clinics, Elevator “Pitch Perfect” workshops, behavioral-based mock interviews or salary negotiation training.


My personal advice.

For those of you actively engaged in selection processes, take the time to thoroughly prepare your interviews, especially the questions you will be asking your interviewer(s) when given the opportunity. One of these should absolutely be around how they would describe their company culture. Remember, this is your opportunity to identify if this is the right fit for your personal and professional development.

Finally, for those of you who are currently working, consider the newly coined “stay interview”. Remember, talent has choices and options these days. This is important for those of you who manage people, as well as those who are able to engage your superior(s) in such a dialogue. Here are 5 key questions to cover:

  • What excites you to come into work?
  • Do you feel good about the impact of your work?
  • What do you want to do more of at work? And less of?
  • Do you see a future for yourself at the organization?
  • If you were Manager for a day, what would you do differently?

My closing takeaway which I encourage you to consider as a New Year’s Resolution “Never reject a speaking engagement, and then promote it online!”.

Here’s to perseverance in pursuit of your career dreams in 2022, and networking with kindness, compassion and grace!

Wishing you and your family a safe and joyous holiday.

With much gratitude,

Amber Wigmore Alvarez, PhD
Chief Talent Officer, Highered