You’re a business misfit and couldn’t decide what area of business to go into, so you finally landed on Management and Human Resources. Good choice, young buck. Now you’ll learn how to manage people and communicate effectively. You’ll also learn how to do something as seemingly insignificant (but seriously important) as creating an engaging PowerPoint. Last but not least, you’ll understand how to make meetings feel like productive adventures. Read on to find out the nitty gritty details of this awesome major.
What you’ll be doing
The MHR major provides a lot of freedom to learn about all things business: employee discrimination, international business relations, effective communication, etc. But you’ll probably end up choosing a specific path to take: management, human resources or entrepreneurship. You can take awesome classes about the social psychology of organizations, team building and even ones solely focused on leadership (so you can be the next Hillary Clinton). The majority of the workload consists of group projects and tests, both of which every college student despises. However, rote memorization of facts and interacting with other human beings are two skills you’ll actually need in the real world.
1. “A lot of times individuals on a team have these great meetings, but won’t come away with anything. They are left asking, ‘What are our next action steps?’ My MHR background has given me strategies to make sure we end a meeting by discussing our next action steps. I also approach meetings differently now; instead of worrying about my opinion, I try to understand my colleagues opinions and motivations in a meeting. This has resulted in more productive meetings and stronger relationships with my colleagues.”—Ingrid Zagzebski, Business Leadership Program at Linkedin, University of Wisconsin-Madison Class of 2015
2. “MHR gives you one of the widest breadths of perception of the entire business world. I learned a little bit about marketing, finance, pricing, operations, etc. Especially at a small company, you’re not just stuck in one role where you’re doing one specific thing. MHR was a good way to understand the entire view of what a business needs to be successful and how all the different components work together.”—Brendan Rice, Bizdom Startup Analyst and Founder of Tuck, University of Wisconsin-Madison Class of 2014
3. “MHR classes help you think strategically about problems and open up discussions for saying why you think things are a certain way and why other people think certain things. Having someone tell you why you’re wrong allows you to think through a problem and realize you don’t necessarily have all of the answers. And it’s good to be able to work with a team and value everyone’s opinion.”—Luke Perkerwicz, Co-Founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at Akita Box, University of Wisconsin-Madison Class of 2015
1. “When you are not a major that is heavily focused on numbers (finance and accounting), you may lose out on some important analytical skills. I believe I would have benefited from a management analytical class because in the business world, numbers are what drives a business. Without understanding how to analyze numbers and data, the solution and results become more of a challenge.”—Ingrid Zagzebski, Business Leadership Program at Linkedin, University of Wisconsin-Madison Class of 2015
2. “You can learn a lot about recruiting and managing people, but when you get into the workforce, there are a ton of hands-on day-to-day things you are doing that I think sometimes get missed in the classroom setting. In the classroom, you do more theoretical discussion about how companies operate or what successful practices look like in business versus the actual, ‘Okay, sit down in your desk. Imagine you are actually doing this. What’s step one?’”—Brendan Rice, Bizdom Startup Analyst and Founder of Tuck, University of Wisconsin-Madison Class of 2014
3. “The biggest difficulty I’d probably say was doing my homework. One of the things you will hear a lot of business school students say is there are a lot of group projects. And with those group projects, you have to coordinate with people to meet up and go through presentations. But it is also a great experience because once you get into the real world, you realize that can be 10 times more challenging. Meeting internally with other people is one thing, but trying to set up meetings with people that have never met you before is much more difficult”—Luke Perkerwicz, Co-Founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at Akita Box, University of Wisconsin-Madison Class of 2015
1. Management Consultant
Are you that neutral third party who gives advice to your friends about their problems? Do you love efficiency as much as Monk loves cleanliness? If either of these characteristics apply to you, consider a management consultant position. Considered the jack of all trades in the industry, a management consultant is solicited by companies that need third party advice and guidance. Sound vague? It should. Management consultants can provide advice and expertise on just about anything. As a management consultant, you might provide coaching skills to upper level employees (Olivia Pope style), help implement new software or even take a look at the finances of a company and determine how to cut corners.
2. Sales and Marketing Manager
Prepare to become a master of selling products and talking to people. You’ve got to have a good phone voice and a killer PC touch in your emails to use when snagging new customers. Also important: be a frickin’ Google pro because you’ll have to research like crazy to ensure you find the right type of clients for your company. Being a social media butterfly doesn’t hurt either because because you’ll be social networking like it’s your job (oh wait, it is). Bonus: You’re in charge of creating marketing plans designed to boost sales and increase client retention, which *psst* looks awesome on a resume.
3. Compensation and Benefits Specialist
Ever see a sign on someone’s wall at work that says something like, “Employee of the Year?” Oh yeah, if you’re a compensation and benefits specialist, you made that happen. You get to be the good cop that gives employees metaphorical (and sometimes literal) gold stars through employee rewards and recognition programs. Also, since half your job is relaying benefits information to employees, you’ll get to hear joyful shouts from workers when you tell them that they have health insurance. Now for the fun part: You decide how the pay structures of a company operate, and ensure that employees are paid fairly for their work, so go on with your bad self, you Fairness Fighter.
4. Human Resources Recruiter
Human resources recruiters chat with talented strangers to find the perfect fit for the company puzzle. As a Human Resources Recruiter, you’ll be the first point of contact for new hires and potential employees, so you’ll get to motivate them about your fantastic company. You will scout the business world for the best candidates when a job opens up, using methods like Linkedin creeping and awkward college networking events. Also, your dreams of switching places with the intimidating interviewer are finally coming true because you interview and hire all potential employees. If you get hugged and/or slapped because of the hiring and firing process, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
You’ve never been comfortable with the ordinary, mundane and safe side of life. That’s why you’ve decided, in spite of parental pleading that you’re going to start your own company. You’re constantly on the lookout for problems that your non-existent company could solve. If you’re like one interviewee, Perkerwicz, you found a problem and created a solution. Perkerwicz realized information in the building industry wasn’t centralized and solved this by creating a user-friendly database. You’ll also market the crap out of the software, get capital, hire employees and bam. You have a company. You are a co-founder.