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What Is an MBA in Human Resources?

Almost anyone who has worked for a medium-sized or large company is familiar with the term human resources (HR). Regardless of the size of an organization and whether it is public or private, its HR department plays a pivotal role.

HR executives are responsible for finding and recruiting a company’s most valuable resource — its people. Becoming an HR professional can be a rewarding and fascinating career path for anyone who understands the powerful influence of employees on their organization’s evolution.

If you enjoy working with people and learning about labor issues and have strong organizational skills, an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Human Resources could be the next step in your professional development.

Why Pursue an MBA in HR

Companies thrive when they hire the best and brightest people. Being an HR professional, however, is not limited to finding and retaining the right employees. Given the diverse social, cultural, linguistic and ethnic backgrounds in today’s workforce, the role of an HR manager is more important — and more complex — than ever before. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic further expanded the strategic role of HR due to factors like the changing expectations of employees, remote and hybrid work environments, employee-centric management models and evolving workplace cultures.

To meet the evolving needs of its working citizens, political leaders constantly develop new labor and business strategies. A large part of an HR executive’s job involves keeping up with developments in local, state and federal labor laws and policies. HR executives must fully understand their business’s legal and ethical responsibilities concerning employment issues such as unions, compensation, worker pensions and healthcare benefits, vacation and sick leave, overtime and worker safety.

HR professionals conceive and implement strategies to deal with labor disputes and issues regarding employee morale and productivity. As skilled communicators, they converse well with senior executives and junior staff members alike. Moreover, HR executives are integral to developing company culture.

The importance of an effective HR department cannot be overstated. While the CEO is the face of a corporation, the HR team — with its capacity for inspiring employees to greatness — is the heart. More and more, HR management act as valued strategic advisors to an organization’s executive team, leading change and driving the holistic direction companies move toward. As noted in an article from Human Resource Executive, this involves developing the HR team’s capacity for skills and abilities needed to meet today’s challenges, such as vision, innovation, collaboration, people analytics, agility and adaptability.

The above skill set may seem like a tall order, but it is well within reach with the right education. You can excel as an HR executive by earning an MBA with an emphasis in HR.

What Are the Topics of Study in an HR MBA?

Today’s diverse workplace and constantly changing labor laws and policies necessitate being ready for any HR challenge. And the right education can give you the knowledge and skills you’ll need.

When it comes to an HR-focused MBA, you have many universities to choose from. For example, the online MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University (Southeastern) prepares individuals for the challenges and opportunities of an HR career. Southeastern’s MBA core courses offer a strong foundation in economic and business fundamentals. Subjects include financial management, research methods, accounting, marketing and data analysis.

In addition, HR MBAs take four concentration courses:

  1. Employment Law. Students learn about the practical and legal ramifications of various employment and labor laws, taking part in the policy-making process through mock HR department experiences.
  2. Human Resource Management. Students learn about equal employment opportunity (EEO) regulations. The class provides an overview of contemporary approaches to hiring, training and retaining employees. It also looks at ways to deal with personnel problems.
  3. Training and Development. Students study adult education, human performance improvement and instructional design as applied to the work of internal and external training professionals in business or adult learning environments.
  4. Compensation. Students examine the various components and applications of compensation and reward systems from diverse perspectives within an organization, including managers, employees and the HR department.

Graduates of Southeastern’s program can apply the thorough educational grounding in current personnel issues to their careers. The program hones their problem-solving skills to prepare them for leadership roles in HR.

The Benefits of an Online MBA

For those who wish to pursue an MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources, Southeastern offers an online version. The online program is as academically rigorous and comprehensive as the on-campus MBA but provides more flexibility. Professionals who want to continue working and people with demanding family commitments can balance studies with their other responsibilities.

Southeastern’s online MBA in Human Resources program consists of a total of 36 credit hours. The quickest possible completion time is 12 months. Students can interact with fellow MBA candidates and professors via online networks and forums. They can also remotely access Southeastern’s library and a variety of electronic resources and tech support.

How Does an HR MBA Prepare Students to Succeed?

Graduates who hold an MBA with an emphasis in Human Resources are ready to enter and eventually lead corporate HR departments. They know what it takes to identify, recruit and retain top talent.

MBA candidates can develop intellectual and interpersonal skills to successfully lead a workforce. They can also understand, implement and stay on top of changes in labor laws.

Furthermore, Southeastern’s John Massey School of Business is one of less than 6% of schools worldwide that hold accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). Southeastern is also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The school’s accreditation can give you an edge when looking for jobs.

With the right MBA, HR executives can steer a company and its employees toward success.

Learn more about Southeastern’s online MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources program.

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