One of the factors that contribute to finding employment and obtaining promotions during an economic downturn is the possession of an advanced degree. In business, the advanced degree that opens doors is the Masters of Business Administration. The degree is challenging and can require a significant time and resource commitment.
Most MBA programs include a concentration in a business-related area such as accounting, marketing, or human resources. The concentration in human resources (HR) offers advanced training in human resource management (HRM). HR personnel play a strategic role in fostering employee satisfaction and loyalty.
The Society for Human Resource Management website states the job of HR professionals succinctly with “leading people” and “leading organizations.” HR departments manage employee services within an organization while protecting the interests of the organization. The organization’s interests include the desire to receive the maximum return on employee investment and to comply with federal and state regulations.
Two questions need to be answered when investigating the possibility of pursuing the MBA in HRM.
1. Why apply?
2. Who should apply?
Why pursue the MBA with a concentration in HR? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2011) offers the answers to the question. First, The Bureau predicts that employment in HR fields will grow much faster than average (22%) between 2008 and 2018. Some of these openings will be for managerial positions. These positions typically require an advanced degree in the field.
Second, individuals with advanced degrees typically receive higher salaries. The Bureau reports that in 2008 the median income for HR personnel was less than $50K. However, the median salary for those in managerial positions was $75K. Salary levels fluctuate depending on type of industry. The growth potential in the career field, the opportunity for specialization from HR generalist to consultant, and the higher salary make a convincing case for the merits of the program.
Who Should Apply?
The second question is equally important. Who should apply? As with most occupational fields, not everyone possesses the characteristics necessary to fit with the demands of this vocation. A mismatch will likely hinder success, result in low job satisfaction and ultimately lead to turnover. The problem is that economic downturns have a way of clouding our vision. Our desire to secure employment or to advance can cause us to overlook the self-evaluation that needs to take place before choosing the HR concentration.
What set of personality traits will find HR fields to be personally fulfilling? MBAs.com identifies two clusters of necessary traits. First, HR work involves reports and keeping records so HR requires a person given to details. A person not detail-oriented will find the paperwork to be frustrating and will be prone to neglect necessary recordkeeping.
Second, HR work requires “people” skills. Effective HR personnel genuinely care about people. Those who are not social by nature will struggle in HR work. Introverts would likely find the demands for frequent human interaction to be stressful.
The MBA with a concentration in human resources offers opportunities. However, the job is not for everyone. Those interested in the degree need to conduct a self-evaluation or ask others to evaluate their suitability to fit with the detail and interpersonal demands of the occupation.