If you're hoping to advance in the human resources field, pursuing a master's degree is a great way to build the skills and knowledge needed to take the next step in your career. Having a master's degree in human resource management can help you qualify for more jobs, make more money, and take on more responsibility - either in your current workplace or in a new organization. Many senior human resources positions even require a master's degree, so obtaining an advanced credential makes sense.
However, when it comes to deciding what kind of human resources master's degree to pursue, you'll have to make some decisions. Generally, HR professionals pursuing a master's degree fall into two categories. The first are students who have a deep interest in human resources, and want to focus their education on this field exclusively. These students see themselves spending their careers in human resource management, and want to become true experts in the field. For them, a master's in human relations is the best choice - this degree is designed give students a deep immersion into the field of HR, and will help those with a passion for human resources take the necessary steps to become experienced, highly educated leaders in the industry. These programs build on core human resource concepts in highly-focused classes that will take students' understanding of the field to the next level.
The second group are students who have a background in human resources, and an interest in furthering their knowledge in the field, but want to diversify their skillsets, become more marketable, or explore a wider range of interests. In those cases, pursuing an MBA with an HR concentration may make sense. These programs will include many of the same core courses as a human resources master's degree program, but will also focus heavily on the concepts and skills integral to a business degree. If your goal is to become a well-rounded business person with a unique human resources perspective, an MBA in human resource management is an excellent choice.
There are increasing numbers of programs offering a specialization in human resource management for MBA students, and this option is becoming popular among students who want to continue to build their human resources skills while also reaping the benefits of a traditional, business-focused MBA program. In a competitive job market where MBAs are common, having a specialization in an in-demand field like human resources will differentiate your degree and help you stand out as a unique applicant.
If you're wondering what you can do with an MBA in human resource management, read on to learn more about the degree, the field itself, and where it can take you.
Pursuing a Career in HR Management
What is Human Resource Management?
Human resource management is a diverse field which, broadly, deals with the administrative functions of an organization, from hiring and recruitment, employee engagement and retention, strategic planning, benefits and payroll administration, and liaising between senior management and staff. Human resource managers are heavily involved in organizational culture and structure, and work closely with employees to help them navigate workplace conflict, improve communication skills, build their careers, and feel satisfied in their work environments.
What Does an MBA in Human Resource Management Degree Entail?
An MBA in HRM program will help you build a human resources skillset that extends beyond the competencies taught in traditional MBA or human resource management master's degree programs. In today's complex and ever-changing business world, business professionals who can be agile, think outside the box, and approach challenges with a systems-thinking mindset are increasingly in demand. In particular, businesses are looking for employees who understand how to leverage what is perhaps an organization's greatest asset: its talent.
Having a degree the combines the benefits of an MBA with focused human resource management knowledge will set you apart in competitive hiring processes, by giving you a unique perspective that address both human resource concerns and business management strategy.
Individuals with an MBA with a concentration in human resources will be prepared to become true leaders within their organizations, leveraging human resource analytics to improve organizational decision-making and leadership and becoming a true strategic partner in attaining organizational goals. You will learn to become a reflective and engaged leader that can develop an agile, solutions-oriented workforce that brings together diverse people and perspectives. Some of the key learning outcomes of an MBA in human resource management degree program include the ability to:
- Integrate the expertise and value of a human resource lens into an organization's strategy.
- Envision and develop a workplace culture that will engage workers, develop leaders, and create a creative and inspiring workplace.
- Understand what makes a good leader, and develop your own personal plan to become one.
- Develop a leadership and coaching approach that will develop agile employees, creative teams, and effective problem-solvers.
- Integrate ethical frameworks into an organization's culture and problem-solving techniques.
What Jobs Can You Get With an MBA in HR Management Degree?
Individuals with an MBA with a specialization in human resource management will be qualified to work in most industries and environments, regardless of sector. It's a field with steady projections for growth, and strong median pay, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Virtually every organization will require a human resources department, whether that consists of someone performing HR duties as part of their wider range of responsibilities, a single human resources generalist who manages the department, or an entire team of specialists overseen by a human resources manager or director. This means that there's considerable opportunity to find a work environment that appeals to you: expand your skillset by taking on a multi-functional HR role, hone your leadership skills by heading a department, or deepen your experience in a specific HR function by becoming a dedicated specialist. Whether you're interested in working for a startup or a multinational corporation, a small non-profit organization or the federal government, there's an HR role for you!
With an MBA in Human Resource Management, you will be qualified for roles such as:
- Human Resources Manager
- Senior Human Resources Consultant
- Manager, HR Operations
- Vice President of Human Resources
- Director of Employee Experience & Communications
- Director of Global Engagement and Culture
- Employee Relations Manager
You will also be qualified for a number of business-focused roles that aren't specific to a human resources function.
How to Find an MBA with Concentration in Human Resources Program
If you've decided that an MBA in human resource management is right for you, it's time to start looking for programs. Although some people choose to do on-campus programs, many adults choose to pursue their MBA with a human resource concentration online, due to the flexibility that such programs offer.
Regardless of whether you prefer an on-campus or online program, you'll want to spend time researching institutions to find one that's the right fit for you. Look for schools that are regionally accredited, non-profit, well-respected for the rigor and quality of their academic programs, and well-reviewed by current and former students. Much of this information can be found on school's websites, via third-party sites like U.S. News & World Report, and through talking to friends, coworkers, and family members about their own academic experiences. You may also want to see if your employer offers tuition reimbursement or partnership programs with any institutions, as that might affect your decision.
Once you've identified institutions that you're interested in, spend time exploring their curricula and talking to admissions advisors to ensure that program learning outcomes align with the key skills you hope to earn. You'll ideally come out of your research with one or two top institutions offering MBA HR programs that fit your needs and seem to meet your goals, and you'll be well on your way to earning your degree and taking on the next phase of your career.
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