HR is not a silo or narrow function; it is a dynamic career path that touches all aspects of a company.
– Sandy Kinnett [Vanderbilt Owen]
In today’s fast-paced business world, the Human Resources (HR) team is not just responsible for recruiting and training new employees or managing employee relations and compensation, but also needs to look at the bigger picture; manage newer and tougher challenges.
This may involve strategic decision-making or handling special situations related to mergers or layoffs.
A company’s employees are its biggest assets. The responsibility of managing this talent effectively, including identifying fresh talent and ensuring that the roles are designated accordingly for the right skill-sets, lies with the HR.
They might be in a position to recommend ways to improve productivity or suggest changes in the organisational structure.
They are also responsible for ensuring employee retention, conducting orientation/training programs, performance appraisal, overseeing employee compensation and benefits, managing safety and welfare of employees, resolving issues or disputes and managing exits.
The HR team also serves as a crucial link between the employees and the organisation’s management. They would be responsible for developing a workplace culture that would engage employees, boost productivity and keep employees motivated to work towards achieving the organisation’s goals.
If you aim to take up a senior role in HR, an MBA with an HR concentration would give you an in-depth knowledge of industry and trends, and prepare you for HR-related leadership roles that require more involvement in key decision-making within the organization.
You’d gain an edge in the competitive recruitment process and your chances of being hired for senior HR positions are much greater.
Here’s a list of the top ranking MBA programs in HR.
Both, the one year as well as two year full-time MBA programs at Kellogg offer a Managing Organisation major for those with an HR focus.
Courses place emphasis on leveraging human and social capital to bring about organisational growth and change.
The focus is on developing relevant traits such as negotiations, influencing power, leadership, team-building and thus improving the performance of the organisation.
The first year of the two year Vanderbilt MBA program is dedicated to covering the core management fundamental courses while the second year is mostly focused on electives.
Students can customise their MBA program by choosing an MBA concentration and MBA electives to suit their career requirements.
The human and organizational performance (HOP) specialisation covers various HR topics including managerial and organizational effectiveness, strategic alignment of human capital, compensation decision-making, talent management, ethics in business, to name a few.
The Ross full-time MBA prepares you for a career in HR through various Human Capital courses covering a range of topics like strategic human capital management, employment law for managers, negotiating strategy, incentives and productivity.
You can also work on a MAP project in human capital which would involve working with an organisation and solving real-world problems. There’s a Human Capital Club which aims at gearing up its members for a career in HR.
BYU offers a two year MBA program. The first year covers the various core courses while in the second year, most of the time is dedicated to electives.
Students have the option of choosing one of the five tracks that the school provides. The Strategic Human Resources track is well-suited for aspiring HR professionals and includes the study of organizational change, development, and the strategic management of human resources.
Topics covered include talent management, international human resources, negotiations, strategic organisational design, and organisational analytics among others. Students can gain practical experience through special projects and student research.
The Wisconsin MBA covers the foundational management topics and students can opt for one of the ten available specialisations.
The Strategic Human Resource Management specialisation covers a variety of HR topics and also gives hands-on experience in areas such as compensation or staffing needs as well as creating actionable strategic plans.
This real-world consulting experience would prepare students for a career in HR. There would be guest lectures and case studies using the latest in predictive software.
Students pick up valuable data analysis and financial analysis skills. Thus the MBA specialisation prepares them to face the challenges in the corporate world.
MBA students can choose one or two specialisation also called focussed studies. The Human Resource Management specialisation covers HR topics like staffing (and selection) tools, various aspects of staffing process, compensation system as well as human resource management with insights into union-management relationships.
Katz offers both one year and two year MBA programs. In both the formats, students can choose to pursue a concentration in organizational behavior and human resources Management. Students taking this concentration are usually hired into HR Management and HR/Management consulting sectors.
In the two year full-time MBA program, students can customise their concentration, complete or combine two concentrations based on their interest and career aspirations.
The Concentration in Human Resource Management helps build a strong quantitative approach to human capital management in organisations.
Fox MBA offers a Human Resource Management concentration. Students have to be a part of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), which involves various career development activities including networking events, guest lectures as well as internships.
Some schools offer dual degrees that combine an MBA degree with a Master’s degree in a Human Resources area.
Johnson College of Business and Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations offers a dual MILR/MBA degree. Both the degrees can be completed in two and half years.
The combination of both these degrees would empower students with the knowledge and better understanding between HR strategy and business strategy and thus put them in a position to take up roles that can influence decision making at top management level.
IE offers a dual degree – international MBA from IE Business School in conjunction with with Master in Talent Development and Human Resources from IE School of Human Sciences and Technology, having a total duration of 19 months. In addition to gaining business and management knowledge, you’d also be prepared for a career in HR.
The HRIR-MBA dual degree combines two professional programs from the Carlson School – an MBA and Master of Arts in Human Resources and Industrial Relations. Both the programs can be completed in three years.
Before deciding which school you’d like to apply to, it’s important for you to compare programs, take a look at the MBA curriculum, look a placement records in HR-related areas, connect with alumni for insider’s perspectives, check out the career resources offered by the school as well as the networking events that would come your way.
A school location may also influence your decision. The business school’s reputation and its industry connections would also matter. After you’re thoroughly convinced that a particular school is the right fit for you, go ahead and apply. All the best!