Recent MBA Graduate Puts Isenberg Lessons to Work for Johnson & Johnson
January 24, 2020
When Paige Hill ’19 MBA received a basic introduction to Tableau data visualization software during her business analytics class at Isenberg, she assumed that the tool would only really be useful to someone with extensive knowledge of the technology.
But within a few months of beginning her new job as a human resources manager at Johnson & Johnson last year, she was asked to create some simple tables in Excel and realized that Tableau would deliver the data with much more functionality. Hill called on the concepts she’d learned at Isenberg from Traci Hess, the Douglas and Diana Berthiaume Endowed Professor of Information Systems, and presented a Tableau dashboard to her team.
“They were blown away,” she says. “In the weeks since, they’ve asked me to present to increasingly senior folks.”
Expansive Skill Set
Hill’s new colleagues have lots of reasons to be impressed by the recent MBA graduate. “Isenberg helped me to improve my business acumen—especially quant skills in finance and analytics. It also gave me opportunities to further develop project management and team leadership skills—both with my peers and with communities beyond the school.”
Her experience working as a graduate assistant to Nefertiti Walker—Isenberg’s Dean for an Inclusive Organization—also influenced her choice to work in human resources. “Dr. Walker’s passion and expertise in driving organizational results through examining culture, improving talent practices, and developing a sense of inclusion and belonging made me realize how critical and strategic HR work is,” Hill says. In her graduate assistant role, she helped benchmark Isenberg’s inclusiveness performance against peer institutions to learn both how the school’s D&I initiatives stacked up and also what sorts of programs and strategies were most effective. She also helped create and launch the Isenberg Suit Shop, which shares donated professional clothing with students who are preparing for job interviews. Last May, Hill was part of a team with fellow MBA students (photo at right) that took second place in an international case competition through the Aspen Institute’s Business & Society Program, which works to innovate at the intersection of corporate profitability and social and environmental concerns. One teammate called her their ringleader.
Discovering Johnson & Johnson
Hill’s initial deep-dive into Johnson & Johnson’s massive HR operation consists of three separate rotations. The first entailed six months working on the Global Talent Management team, supporting all sectors with a specific focus in Medical Devices. She has now joined the firm’s Pharmaceuticals division as a human resources business partner.
“My focus on HR has been to find the right levers to help people and their organizations grow and improve,” she observes.
For her first assignment with the medical devices team, Hill canvassed key leaders in the firm’s domestic and overseas businesses (from the headquarters in New Jersey all the way to Singapore and Brazil) to flesh out their goals and priorities for the coming year. “Being tasked with a global project where I am speaking to stakeholders operating in very different markets all over the world is really challenging!” Hill says. “Of course, at Isenberg I got a top-notch business school education that gave me the tactical skills to be able to ask intelligent questions and pull out themes.”
Hill joined Isenberg with a degree in sociology from Grinnell College and five years of experience with College Possible, a nonprofit affiliated with AmeriCorps that helps low-income high school students across the country achieve college admission and success through coaching and curricular support. Based in Portland, Oregon, Hill began as a hands-on coach before becoming a program and then senior program coordinator. In the latter role, she designed programs, managed budgets, hired a statewide team, and oversaw fundraising and marketing.
“After five years with College Possible, I wanted to expand my skill set and my influence,” she recalls. “I think about my former students a lot in my work now. Strategic HR is really about allowing everyone to have their best day at work every day in a way that drives results for the business.”
Hill adds, “For me, it’s always been about helping others and their organizations achieve their potential. Isenberg proved to be the right answer at the right time. It helped me to expand my horizons.”