HR people

My business degree was with an HR emphasis and my current job isn’t an HR job, but it does use it somewhat. I’m currently going to school for an MBA. This is my first semester. I’m not sure if an MBA is right for me. Does it help an HR career to have an MBA? I also plan to get a PHR. If I had to choose one or the other, which would be more beneficial to a career in HR? I’ll wait until the end of the semester before I decide anything, but I’d like to know from those that have experience. The people that I’ve asked in person scratch their head when I mention MBA or PHR, as if they’ve never heard of either.

I think you would certainly make yourself infinitely more marketable with an advanced degree. I’d personally recommend the MBA only because it will give you more marketable (i.e. less pigeon holed) skills. I’ll be very honest in saying that I do not like 99% of all HR people I’ve met simply because they are all terrible at their jobs.

My biggest gripe has been that HR folks seem to be glorified secretaries with no secretarial skills, making me wonder why they exist at all. Every time I ever had a question about the insurance, I was told to talk to the insurance company directly because they didn’t know. Every time I asked for resumes for an open job requistion with very specific job skills, I would be handed a pile several days later that contained often hundreds of candidates, of which 95% were completely unqualified for the position, but I had to waste lots of time going through them. Just last week, I got so fed up with my HR folks taking several weeks to find an immediate candidate that I demanded the password to our Clearancejobs.com account and found 9 good candidates in less than 20 minutes. In other words, don’t be one of these people. My advice would be to learn at least the basic technical jargon used in a number of industries and understand the basics of business, which will make you infinitely more marketable, and part of the 1% that can do their job. If you plan to work in a small business in an HR capacity, I would say many “outside HR” skills will definitely be needed, and be a big help to the business.

I should also add that entering an MBA program now will keep you out of this dismal job market for another two years, which is probably a good thing because I suspect things will be vastly improved by then.

I work in HR.

An MBA is good because it can be applied to any number of business/corporate career paths, not just HR. PHR is good if you know for certain that you want an HR career, but it will have a more limited application than an MBA. I usually see people who are early in their careers go for the MBA, and folks who already have established HR experience going for the PHR. I don’t have either degree, but if I were to go back to get a degree now (with almost 18 years of HR experience) I would probably get the PHR. If I were 30 or younger it might be different.

I may finish out my MBA then. Either way, I plan to go ahead and get a PHR on top of that. Thanks!

An MBA is becoming all to common. When I worked in hotels I had TWO reservation agents with MBAs. They got them because they were bored and didn’t like their BA degrees.

There is no secret to H/R as there are many subspecialities. The thing is H/R is there to PROTECT THE COMPANY, not the worker, though they tell you otherwise.

This is a confilct a lot of people don’t. I worked in H/R and that was my biggest gripe, the blatant lying you’d have to do, to come across like you were their for the employees.

Since you want to go into H/R, I would recommend to focus on benefits. This is going to be a huge deal with the new healthcare reform. Usually a company will have an H/R manager at each office, but only one benefits manager for a district. That way you’ll get a lot of variety and it won’t be so much for you.

Training is a fun aspect of H/R as well. But in tough economic times training programs get cut first. I did mostly benefits and training.

Again, an MBA isn’t going to hurt, but no one is gonna take a MBA over a worker without one if that worker has a lot of experience.

A good way to find out what companies want is to get a couple of Google Voice numbers and make a fake resume or two and apply for jobs with and without an MBA listed and see if you get more response with or without one.

:dubious: If you have to lie to your employees, then you’re doing it wrong. I’ve had to give employees plenty of bad news (“Insurance premiums are up again! You don’t qualify for FMLA! You violated our zero-tolerance policy!”) but I can’t think of any instances where I’m aware that we’ve “blatantly lied” to employees. I mainly work in benefits by the way. I never cared for the training or recruiting aspects of HR.

I would disagree. It’s not like everyone and his brother has an MBA. They may seem common because MBAs typically seek out similar jobs in consulting, finance, brand management and a few others.

People have some sort of misconception that the company is run by the human resources department or that HR has some sort of great power over the people who work for the company. HR doesn’t fire or hire people. The guy who runs the department does that. HR just gives you the message and the paperwork.

HR doesn’t “protect the company” either. That is the job of Legal and the General Counsel’s office. Maybe Compliance and Records Management as well.

The job of HR is to perform various administrative functions for the powers that be. They perform perfunctory background checks once management has decided to hire someone. They help you fill out the paperwork for your 401k and benefits. Maybe they will run some superficial onboarding training so you know where you sit and how to check your email.

As an extension of the company, HR can only assist you so long as the behavior in question is against the expressed and implied policy and culture of the company.