A friend of mine decided to enroll in an online Master’s Degree program. She’s been working on the peripheral of HR for a while and wants to move into a more traditional HR role. She doesn’t have the professional experience to take the PHR yet. So she decided to get her Master’s, make the transition into HR and get certified later.
I was excited for her. Unlike a lot of people out there, I don’t balk or bicker about the value of degree programs. Brick/Mortar versus Online. Small college versus Major university … Bloods versus Crypts! Jets versus Sharks! Whatever. I think everyone loses in those battles.
All education has value. And, ultimately, the decision to pursue higher education and the completion of a 2-, 3- or 4+ year degree program demonstrates a committment to learning, a capacity for retaining practical knowledge and a basic ability to organize, set priorities and work independently. Those are highly desirable skills for any career or workplace. Combined with experience and enthusiasm, higher education should produce a level of savvy, sophistication and shrewdness that equal a formula for success.
Her courses started right after the MLK Holiday last week. We met up for lunch recently and she had her school stuff with her. I looked at the syllabus … and I was unimpressed. Later, I googled the curricumlum … and I was really unimpressed!
There were no traditional business-focused classes on there. No accounting or marketing or statistics. Not even a strategic HR class.
I asked her about it. She didn’t seem bothered. She said she didn’t want to take all the business stuff anyways — she wanted to learn HR. I tried to explain to her that HR is “all the business stuff” but she wasn’t trying to hear it.
And suddenly I became one of those people judging someone else’s degree program. It didn’t feel good.
I knew her program was a Master’s of Science, not a Master’s of Business Administration (which is what I have). I’ve encountered a few other people who chose the MS over the MBA. I didn’t think there was too much difference between the two. But I remembered them saying their programs didn’t have a lot of traditional business-focus to them either. I also remembered they struggled with strategy and analytics and financials than I did …
Is the HR MS really BS?!? Is the MS curriculum failing to really prepare its students for a career as an effective HR professional?!?
After digging a little deeper, my answer is “most likely, no.” Any degree or certificate program a person chooses needs to be thoroughly researched to make sure it is reputable and designed to prepare you for whatever you want to do with the knowledge gained once you are done. MBA vs MS vs MM vs MA — they each have value and can help advance your career. Learn the difference and all the other options available to make the best choice for you.
Ultimately, we all want to be a MBA though … Major Bad-Ass!!