A Day in the Life of... Michael Rodriguez

Native Houstonian Michael Rodriguez earned a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of Houston. He returned to UH to earn his M.S. in Human Resources Development (HRD) in 2010. In addition to his experience as a human resources manager, Michael has 10 years' experience in sales and customer service management. In his free time, Michael enjoys reading and following Houston Cougars sports. A newlywed, he is married to Jennifer Hillier.

What degree did you earn, and when did you graduate?

I graduated with a Master of Science in Human Resources Development in December 2010.

What was your first job after graduation from UH?

During my final semester in the HRD graduate program, I applied for an internship at Baker Hughes. After graduating, I was offered a full time position within the Client Learning Services segment.

How did you progress to your current position?

I started as an intern with the Fluids and Chemicals business segment in Baker Hughes, where I was managing internal training projects for completion fluids. Within months, Baker Hughes was integrating operations with BJ Services Company and my team was absorbed into other areas of the company. I ended up switching to Client Learning Services, which focuses primarily on external client training. By the time my internship ended, I was offered a full-time position as a project manager. It was a great opportunity to join a wonderful team that develops technical training courses delivered all over the world.

What are the primary responsibilities of your current position?

As a project manager, my primary responsibility is to oversee the development of technical training courses for Client Learning Services. I work with subject matter experts (SMEs) and instructors located in Houston, Aberdeen, and Dubai to assemble and shape technical content into highly interactive courses that are based on sound instructional design principles. Our training courses are presented to external clients and represent the best offered by Baker Hughes. So, in addition to managing projects, I make sure that the product that we are delivering is of the highest quality.

What is a typical work day for you?

The typical work day begins by responding to yesterday's business. Keep in mind that the other half of the world works while you are sleeping. I keep a large yearly calendar on the wall in my work area that maps out the milestone dates for my projects. I usually spend a few minutes analyzing what needs to happen for the day and plan out the afternoon. I also try to budget my time wisely and stay ahead of all project goals. If a problem arises, there is enough time to address any issues. Since my boss is also a UH graduate, we have to spend a few minutes discussing the latest Cougar victory.

What do you like best about your job?

What I love most about my job is the reorganization of chaos. More often than not, the original course materials originated from marketing or sales. Or, they were developed by an engineer who may not have necessarily known how to teach the material effectively. Often times, the objectives of the course did not align with what was actually being taught. An instructional designer's responsibility is to shape these materials into a course that focuses and delivers on the intended objectives. Once a course has been completed, it is much easier to maintain and update than to perform a new build. My job, as an instructional designer, is to ensure that the learners are engaged and getting the most out of their courses.

What advice would you give to students considering a career in your field?

My advice is to not be afraid to try new things. If you are not happy, now is the time to make a change. While working as a human resources manager, one day I decided to apply to graduate school. It changed my life because I went from stressing out over audits and new hire paperwork to designing technical training for directional drillers. As a student, you have the freedom to choose where you will focus. Make wise choices that will align your desired position with the skills you are developing. After you find your dream job description, identify the skills needed to obtain that job; and then choose the electives and majors that will help you obtain your desired position.

The College of Technology offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in a variety of majors suited to students wishing to become entrepreneurs in the field of their choice. For information about academic programs, contact the Academic Service Center at 713-743-4100 or visit online at tech.uh.edu/college/academic-services-center. To be featured in a future Day in the Life article, contact Lisa Burns at lcburns@uh.edu and advise your degree and major for consideration.