Most Valuable Player

The NFL’s John Quinones (Executive MS Industrial Labor Relations, ’01), Head of Talent Acquisition    

John Quinones might be the Tim Tebow of talent acquisition. Before he became the head of talent acquisition for the National Football League, he worked for Major League Baseball in the same capacity (he recruits on the corporate side). That sort of versatility runs throughout his résumé: Before making the move to professional sports, Quinones worked in human resources and recruitment for McGraw-Hill, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and the New York Public Library. It’s a far cry from his high school days bussing tables at a New Jersey restaurant.

Or maybe not so far. “Working in restaurants taught me how to deal with people,” Quinones says. “I learned all about listening to their needs, being respectful, being part of a supportive team environment, and dealing with all different types of people. That customer service role was very useful in my HR career.”

But it wasn’t enough. “My degree really launched my career,” Quinones says of the Executive MS in Industrial Labor Relations (now Human Resource Management) he earned in 2001. His coursework in labor relations and the fundamentals of compensation were especially compelling, adding necessary exposure to collective bargaining and the philosophy of pay structure to his repertoire: “Those two classes were critical to my long-term success. They helped cement the foundation for my career.”

Just as Quinones took charge of his own professional growth by pursuing a Zicklin degree, he makes sure to consider the long-term development of those he recruits. It’s a sense of responsibility inspired by his father, who worked in executive search: “He was one of my biggest influences. I was fascinated by the idea that he was in a role to help people select a new job. They place a lot of trust in you and have faith that you have their best interest in mind. It’s not just about filling a job.”