Career Services (CS) created the Career Path series to assist students with the career search process.
Each Career Path handout examines a common business functional area in which Stephen M. Ross
School of Business graduates pursue jobs each year. The first four steps of CS’s recommended career search process are detailed for each specific business field.
Human Resources Overview
The field of Human Resource Management (HRM) focuses on achieving corporate strategy through the effective management of people in organizations. It examines the link between people, satisfaction, and productivity. Effective HRM results in a higher quality of work life, higher productivity, and an improved readiness for change. The role of the human resources manager within a corporate environment has been undergoing rapid change. In the past, personnel managers served primarily as administrators, policing and maintaining the organizational status quo. However, the role of the modern human resources manager has become more ambiguous, shifting in the direction of business partner, employee champion and change catalyst, and focused on strategic leveraging of human capital. The human resource manager's role is also moving toward one of internal consultant in order to help line and upper-level managers better manage their people.
Functionally, the broad area “human resources” consists of compensation, benefits, human resources information systems, human resources planning, organizational/job design, employee relations, recruiting individual and career development and training, and organization development. For entrylevel professionals, opportunities are primarily in generalist roles and rotational programs. For graduate level and experienced-hire positions, though, there is more focus on the higher-level strategic aspects of these functions.
Strategically applying/utilizing the various disciplines within human resources in order to cause organizational change and add value is often referred to as “change management.” Change management is commonly defined as both a) the set of skills and aptitudes an individual needs to successfully initiate and implement change, and b) the applications of tools for change (e.g. training, communication, process re-design, etc.) in adding value to an organization. HR professionals are increasingly being asked to develop the personal skills and attitudes for implementing change as well as a technical understanding of how to apply the tools for change. While corporate HR managers often deal with change management issues as a subset of their responsibilities, most of the opportunities that focus almost exclusively on change management are in consulting (see Human Resource
Strategy/Change Management Consulting).
In the past, HR management positions were primarily held by people with master level degrees in organizational design, human resources management, organizational psychology, etc. However, with the shift of attitude toward people in organizations, it has become very important for HR managers to have a strong business background, as well as clear strategic and financial experience. This is why companies are now hiring MBA candidates for HR positions. It is well known that students with backgrounds such as accounting, finance and marketing have been successful making the transition to human resources due to the need for HR professionals who can "speak the language" of business, but people with other non-traditional business backgrounds are also sought for their creative skills and general flexibility.
Many MBAs interested in human resource positions have no experience in the field. The key for these students is bridging their previous experience with the qualifications and skill sets of the HR function.
Companies interviewing for human resources positions expect students to have clearly articulated reasons for