Henry Muñoz on making his mark in the world
Henry Motte-Muñoz wants his life’s work to be about helping worthy of their dreams
There is a bit of an old school charm to Filipino-French Henry MotteMuñoz. His firm handshake, paired with a sincere greeting and a polite inquiry of the time needed for the interview, is refreshingly traditional, to say the least. Asking for a second to answer a text seems to be his only concession to a world gone mad over multi-tasking through the internet. Otherwise, his answers are measured and thoughtful, with a certain cadence.
Motte-Muñoz, 30, neither has Twitter nor Instagram. However, he still is as millennial as they come. “The most millennial thing I do is having a sense of purpose. We like to think that we are some kind of unicorn, that we are special,” he half-jokes. Like most of his peers, he has broken away from the narrative that his parents’ generation has lived by: find a job, settle down with a partner, create a 2.5 family, buy a home, then retire quietly in the suburbs.
While working in finance, Motte-Muñoz got to take his MBA at Harvard University on a company scholarship. It was a turning point in his life. “It was there that I realized I wanted to do something fulfilling. Finance was intellectually challenging, but it’s a career; I wanted to do something with more impact.”
For this search, he hewed close to home and observed that a cousin of his in the Philippines found it difficult to inquire about courses he was interested in and to enroll in a school. “In Harvard, the system is very streamlined, and with the internet around, there’s no need to line up just to enroll. I don’t think anyone has to resort to asking a cousin randomly what a course is about; the answers should be easily found online.”
The result of Motte-Muñoz’s advocacy is the website Edukasyon.ph, which
"The most millennial thing I do is having a sense of purpose. We like to think that we are some kind of unicorn, that we are special."
"We are very passionate about certain causes. We are not just passive activists simply clicking "Like" on Facebook; we talk about different causes that resound with us and find ways to work together and make a difference. And that is just great"
features a directory of schools and universities across the Philippines. “It’s [like] TripAdvisor for schools,” he says, the analogy telling of his online knowhow. His work is proof that he belongs to the generation he was born to: like people within his age range, he likes to find ways to make something better. “Students shouldn’t be asked a lot of information about themselves first before they can make an inquiry about the course they’re interested in. There’s a tendency for students to be limited in exposure to the opportunities that they can have,” he explains. For the long view, he wants more avenues where people can talk specifically about their education and their careers, and to have more schools be open to queries and applications—more ways of getting things done other than having to approach an admissions department physically. But Edukasyon.ph is more than just a listing of schools and courses. It also features profiles of different people and their professions. “We have a section called ‘Discover Careers,’ which is just about discovering yourself [and your career interests]. Here, we have people like Rajo Laurel and Mitzi Borromeo talking about their work. This is to help people understand different professions and see if these resonate with them.”
Motte-Muñoz is adept at mathematics and his father works in finance. The social enterprise he’s created is quite off the track, but as he explains, “Though I like finance, I never questioned it.” Believing there’s got to be more to life, he looks back and sees how seemingly simple life choices can turn out to be more complex. “It’s different when you say you like working in finance because you can do it versus saying you like it because you know what a consultant does, you know what a journalist does, and what other professionals do, and yet you still want to do finance.” He would have gone into the start-up industry sooner if he had more access to information on it, but “I would still have worked in finance for two years. It’s good training for what I do now.”
When asked what he thinks binds millennials and defines their generation, Motte-Muñoz says, “We are very passionate about certain causes. We are not just passive activists simply clicking ‘ Like’ on Facebook; we talk about different causes that resound with us and find ways to work together and make a difference. And that is just great.” •