When Randell Hernandez first arrived at college, he not only found a place to further his education, he also discovered a home for his professional career.
With an interest in business, Hernandez received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Toledo. During his undergraduate days, though, he developed a passion for higher education. He decided to take the next step and continue his education by pursuing a master’s degree in college student personnel from Bowling Green State University.
“In 1998, I started my career as a residence hall director at Bowling Green State University while earning my master’s degree,” says Hernandez, currently director of admissions for the Executive MBA Program at the University of Washington Foster School of Business and EMBAC board member.
Hernandez loves working with students and connecting them to the possibilities that education brings. “I spent the first 19 years of my career in the undergraduate arena from residence life to freshmen orientation to undergraduate admissions.”
He served in a number of positions – from coordinator of new student experiences and assistant director of admissions at the University of Toledo to senior associate director of admissions at the University of Oregon to deputy director of admissions and relations with schools at the University of California, San Diego.
In 2008, he landed at the University of Washington in a position that involved working with a new student category for him – executives.
“My longer term career goal had been that of chief enrollment officer,” he says. “I thought that adding graduate admission to my experience could be helpful in having a broader scope beyond undergraduate admissions.”
Early on, he confesses, he worried that the decision might not have been the best one for him.
“Admission for full-time working professionals was far outside my experience comfort zone. I initially felt ineffective as recruiting EMBA-types is very different from recruiting high school students and community college transfer students.”
With some time and a better understanding of the EMBA world, Hernandez more than weathered the transition: He wholeheartedly embraced EMBA students and the EMBA industry.
“Now I truly feel fortunate to see prospective students, sometimes years before they actually ‘pull the trigger’ and apply, then apply, then develop through a rigorous MBA program, and then many years later return as alumni,” he says. “I have really grown to value the role I play in helping people achieve the MBA goal while working full time and many times while balancing family responsibilities.”
Along the way, he moved from associate director to director of admissions for the Foster Executive MBA, and his colleagues at the program introduced him to EMBAC.
He began volunteering for the council in 2010 when he coordinated the concurrent session evaluation process and volunteers at that year’s EMBAC conference in Vancouver.
“At that conference, I also volunteered to lead one of the Monday evening small group dinners and have continued to lead a small group dinner at the annual conference. It’s really a great way to spend a couple of hours getting to know a small group of EMBA colleagues.”
In 2015, Hernandez organized the EMBAC USA/Canada Western Regional Meeting in his home city of Seattle. He also has presented at regional meetings. In 2017, he co-chaired the EMBAC conference in Seattle and was elected to the EMBAC Board of Trustees.
He values his involvement with the council and EMBAC members throughout the world.
“I think service to one’s professional organization is important,” he says. “I have always enjoyed taking on leadership roles for programs and events. It’s a great way to network and meet other professionals. Many times, these colleagues become friends."
Hernandez also shared the following insights:
- My hobbies include: “Backpacking and hiking, golf, exercise, watching college football and basketball, and wine tasting.”
- My favorite city is: “Chicago, Illinois (U.S.) and Prague, Czech Republic (non-U.S.)
- I'm most proud of: “Helping people achieve their educational goals.”
- I'm reading: “Someday This Pain Will be Useful to You, by Peter Cameron.”
- I'm passionate about: “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”
- My next project is: “Me.”
- When I think about the Executive MBA Council, I think:“About the wonderful global connections I have established over the years!”