Claudi Horak (MA Human Resource 2014)

Claudia Horak

Tell us about your degree - why did you choose it? Why did you decide to study part-time, and how did you find the experience? What would you say is your defining memory of studying here?

I decided to study a HR Master’s degree as a result of having spent two years teaching English in South Korea. I saw that HR had a learning & development aspect to it, which I thought would suit me well and fit with my desire to work in a more corporate environment.

As I was completely self-funded for my Master’s degree, I worked alongside my studies. I’d saved enough for the tuition costs previously, but needed to keep an income rolling in. 

It was great being able to combine work and study. It’s almost like living in two completely different worlds and allows for an almost constant state of stimulation. You work, you study, you meet people. You might be tired at times but I would never want to give up that feeling of accomplishment for anything. 

Were your career aspirations expanded by studying here? Did the skills and experience you acquired on your course give you the confidence to widen your career choices?

The University introduced me to the company I am currently working for, which is something I never expected. I definitely think that the support I was given by Marianne Savory as my personal development tutor as well as my personal tutor, Kate Hardy, went a long way to helping me feel confident in moving forward into the working world again after my degree. 

What careers and professional development support did you receive during your Masters degree? How do you think the Business School improved your employability?

As I came to Leeds University needing a job, I was in touch with Marianne from the very beginning. Over the next two years we built a strong relationship, consistently working together through countless applications, interview scenarios. As Marianne was the person who encouraged me to apply to Honeywell, I definitely think she played a significant role in helping me get to where I am today.  

When did you first become aware of the opportunity with Honeywell? What was it that interested you?

I had mentioned I wanted to move to the States following my graduation, so Marianne thought Honeywell could be a good fit as it’s an American company. Coincidentally, Honeywell were looking for someone with a lot of flexibility and an interest in relocating, which is something I had had plenty of experience with beforehand. 

After applying and successfully interviewing with four different people in one day, I knew that Honeywell was the type of company that would challenge me to develop myself and my skills from day one. 

Tell us about your current role at Honeywell, what is your job remit? How has your career progressed since leaving the Business School?

I currently look after a population of around 330 employees across two companies. The tasks vary every single day. I can be working on small case-by-case tasks such as recording an absence or advising on maternity leave one minute, or I can be asked to step in and progress a disciplinary case or engage with a grievance or termination another. There’s never a dull moment that’s for sure!

In terms of my career, I can say I am learning something new absolutely every single day. It’s too soon to tell where this path will lead, but I am most certainly in a fantastic position to progress my HR career from here on out.  

You recently returned to deliver a guest lecture to our current MA HRM students alongside Cheryl Lim, HR Country Director for UK & Ireland. How was this experience? And how do you hope to continue your relationship with the Business School in future?

I thought being able to present Honeywell to the current year group was a really fantastic experience. Having not even graduated at the time of the presentation I felt that I could really relate to the students and engage with them in a way that might not be possible several years on. 

I would love to continue helping out the Business School in the future both personally and through my company. I know I definitely enjoyed hearing from alumni about their experiences when I was studying and think it can be an invaluable experience for both students and presenters.