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

Red Magazine - - EDITOR’S NOTE | CONTENTS - WORDS OLIVIA SYLVIA ESTRADA PHO­TOG­RA­PHY JOSEPH PAS­CUAL

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.” •

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