The Importance of Education in Executive Search

AESC Members work diligently to provide executive talent solutions for organizations across all industries and in all geographies—spanning 1,200+ offices in 70+ countries. Bringing a deep level of expertise to their clients, our Members have a unique vantage point as they help companies build effective organizational cultures and advise on leadership strategies impacting business leaders and the world. 

With our AESC Member Spotlights, we speak with members to get their take on the profession, industry and sector specific trends, regional insights and more. We’re thrilled to kick off Member Spotlights with Pilar Brogeras, Director at Stanton Chase, and 2017 recipient of AESC’s Future of the Profession Award

AESC: Pilar, you’ve been working in the executive search and leadership consulting profession for nearly a decade, progressing from a Researcher to now Director at Stanton Chase’s largest office in Latin America. Can you share some lessons learned and personal highlights along the way? 

PILAR: For me, education is a deal breaker. Since most of my career has been in Executive Search, I felt that in order to step up my game I had to prepare myself. Pursuing my MBA, a Master in Leadership, and AESC’s Advanced Certificate in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting from Cornell provided me with so many more tools. Advancing my education along with 10+ years of experience has allowed me to strengthen my credentials, speak the same language of my clients, build a practice and become a strategic advisor to the companies I work with. 

Working at Stanton Chase also offers a platform for me to grow in terms of responsibilities and business excellence. It is a seamless global organization and I learn from partners in different markets who are facing diverse challenges. All clients need talented people leading their companies. However, each client’s needs are different—their requirements, type of support, attention, organizational culture and challenges.  The ability to adapt to them without sacrificing quality and still add value is fundamental in our profession. 

As years pass, I realize more and more that what I love about this job is that it is all about PEOPLE: understanding their goals, successes, and failures; meeting talented candidates and clients; making connections; and witnessing amazing career changes. There is always an opportunity to learn and develop. And I strongly believe that leveraging these opportunities is vital to achieving success in this profession.  

AESC: You earned AESC and Cornell’s Advanced Certificate in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting. Why did you decide to pursue the certificate?

PILAR: I was looking for a specialized program in Executive Search and what better than a certification sponsored by AESC and Cornell, both highly reputable entities in their subjects. I was interested in a program that covered topics like business strategy, collaborative conversations with clients, negotiations and building long term relationships with clients. Even though our profession is a service, we are a very unique one and it is very specific. The Advanced Certificate in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting focused on areas I was looking to further develop in order to continue generating an added value in my every day activities. And the format was very friendly and manageable with my schedule. Even though the program is online, it was very interactive. 

AESC: How has the certification program better prepared you to deliver value to your clients and colleagues? 

PILAR: Knowledge sharing from top level faculty as well as from colleauges in the profession with years of experience is something I definitely benefited from. I learned so many ways to further improve and best practices from global peers shared throughout the 6 month course. Asking clients the right questions, being more assertive in my approach, consciously building a long-term relationship with organizations and candidates—these are just some of the learnings that I have implemented and already seen a positive outcome.     

AESC: At Stanton Chase, you developed the Young Professionals Team and this year, you received AESC’s Future of the Profession Award honoring the next generation of leaders of the profession. What opportunities are you most excited about for the future of the profession? 

PILAR: Today, with a leadership role at Stanton Chase, I have been fortunate to witness a young generation in Executive Search. There’s a lot of opportunity to nurture new talent and we recently launched a global mentoring program for High Potentials which is already producing success stories. 

The profession is changing in terms of the Consultant’s profile we used to see two decades ago. This is especially true in terms of age and gender. The High Potentials program confirms that there are many young people who not only have the skills and knowledge but are also extraordinary business developers and search executors. They are striving to become leaders of this profession. This is starting to be a burgeoning career path versus a retirement plan which it used to be.

Clients are also demanding more. They are seeking deeper specialization, speed, thoroughness and of course our expertise to advise them. This will require us to be much more trained, have business acumen and market expertise but it also pushes us to be top class Consultants that elevate the profession.  I am excited to keep witnessing young people growing and developing in Executive Search and Leadership Consulting.