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Why HR Professionals Should Consider an MBA

Human resources (HR) professionals looking to advance their careers and expand their horizons can gain the skills they need through Lamar University’s online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Management program.

A successful HR career reflects a progression of both education and experience — and some HR management jobs are now requiring a master’s degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). An MBA in management both complements and builds on an HR professional’s prior education and experience. It also provides an added edge in a field where strong competition is not uncommon.

Desired Qualities for HR Professionals

The five most important skill areas for HR managers are decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, organizational skills and communication skills, according to BLS. All of these key managerial skills can be developed through Lamar University’s MBA in management, which incorporates intensive training based upon the FranklinCovey principles of leadership, an internationally recognized program.

The diverse skill set developed through an MBA in management also opens up opportunities for an HR professional to work in other key roles, such as:

  • Administrative services manager
  • Compensation, benefits and job analysis specialist
  • Labor relations specialist
  • Training and development manager
  • Top executive

The employment demand for professionals with an MBA continues to increase, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) Corporate Recruiters Survey 2022 Summary Report. GMAC reports that 92% of corporate recruiters and 95% of staffing agencies intend to hire new MBA grads this year.

The survey also highlights an interesting trend toward employers expanding incentive benefit packages for new-hires to include assistance in paying off school loans. Plus, an MBA still comes with a wage premium. In analyzing GMAC’s findings, Poets and Quants notes that “an MBA means as much as 40% more in median starting salary compared to a bachelor’s degree.”

Relevant Coursework

While obtaining an MBA in management, students engage with a broad range of managerial topics, from accounting to marketing and strategic management. Students learn how to collect and analyze data to facilitate sound business decisions. They acquire advanced skills in corporate communications and engage in the evaluation of policies and practices.

Students can also take courses specifically addressing current HR topics. For example, MGMT 5360 Human Resources Management conducts a broad review of the field before delving into analysis of areas such as recruitment, placement and personnel planning.

Another course of high value to HR professionals is BULW 5330 Employment Law, which takes an in-depth look at major legislation enacted at the federal and state levels and explores key aspects of the Fair Labor Standards Act, Worker’s Compensation and Social Security.

Leadership topics are covered in MGMT 5312 Personal Leadership, which incorporates “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, and MGMT 5313 Team Leadership, which draws from “Great Leaders, Great Teams and Great Results,” part of the FranklinCovey program. This combination of classes builds upon Covey’s original work with individuals that subsequently expanded to include practices for successful organizational leadership.

Prepare Yourself and Your Organization for the Future

HR professionals will continue to have a large role in assisting their organizations’ adoption of industry trends, people analytics being an excellent example. According to Forbes council member Anand Inamdar, “People analytics can help simplify the ‘human’ aspect of HR by applying the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to large datasets of people and complex business problems.” This application of modern technology can automate, augment and amplify certain HR practices, freeing up HR professionals’ time to work on more creative, impactful and people-centric tasks such as improving employee engagement and company culture alignment.

The combination of leadership development and instruction in key business skills gained through an MBA in management prepares an individual for success. The coursework provides the well-rounded education and versatile toolkit professionals need to pursue career goals in HR management, a field boasting a median annual salary of $126,230 and a projected growth rate of 9%, according to 2021 data from BLS.

Learn more about Lamar University’s online MBA in Management program.

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