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What is an MBA in Human ResourcesWhat is an MBA in Human Resources

With plenty of lucrative career options as an HR Resources Managers and HR Generalists, the Master of Business Administration in Human Resources provides B-students with a solid understanding of business operations. For the aspiring HR professional seeking a middle-to-upper management position, an MBA program will teach the entire process of recruiting, interviewing, and hiring of new staff. B-School graduates are prepared to consult with top executives on strategic planning and serve as a link between an organization’s management and its employees.

An MBA in HR prepares you for the emerging knowledge economy while emphasizing the latest concepts, practices, and skills needed in a rapidly changing business world. The MBA in Human Resources Management is a powerful credential for the business professional interesting in understanding the human capital of an organization.

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resources prepares talented B-Students to effectively plan, direct and lead administrative operations. Graduates will be able to lead HR training modules, design effective employee development programs, apply methods of intervention and understand the relationship between training and the fields of individual and organizational development. In other words, MBA graduates are in a position to run an entire HR department and will be trained by professionals with years of HR industry experience.

What’s the Career Outlook of Human Resource MBAsWhat’s the Career Outlook Human Resource MBAs

Human Resources Managers and HR Generalists with a master’s degree earn 20% more on average than those with only a bachelor’s degree and almost 80% more than those without a degree, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment of Human Resources Managers is projected to grow 9% through 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

As companies go from the startup to growth phase, there will be a need to employ HR professionals to ensure proper hiring, training, and development of employees. An HR Manager must align their departmental goals with the company’s overall mission statement. The ability to contribute to employee development, organization development, employee retention, and positive, motivating work environment are all essential skills for an HR professional wanting career longevity.

How Much Do Human Resource MBAs EarnHow Much Do Human Resource MBAs Earn

The median annual wage for human resources managers is $106,910. The lowest 10% earned less than $63,140, and the highest 10% earned more than $193,550.

The median annual wages for human resources managers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Sector Avg. Salary
Management of companies and enterprises $121,390
Professional, scientific, and technical services $120,980
Manufacturing $103,200
Government $95,950
Healthcare and social assistance $91,250

Where Do Human Resource Manager WorkWhere Do Human Resource Manager Work

Human resources managers held about 136,100 jobs last year. The largest employers of human resources managers were as follows:

Sector Avg. Salary
Management of companies and enterprises 14%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13%
Manufacturing 13%
Government 10%
Healthcare and social assistance 9%

Human resources managers work in corporate settings. Some managers, especially those working for organizations that have a satellite office, may have to travel to all company locations to attend professional meetings, recruit employees, and terminate employees. If there’s a recruiting event, the HR Manager must be on-site to ensure proper hiring practices as well as make decisions around offering employment.

Earning your MBA in HR provides B-Students with the analytical tools and technologies needed to solve complex management problems. Participating in a human resource graduate program gives you the added understanding of key HR issues in the workplace. With your MBA in HR, you might pursue employment in a variety of roles, including:

  • Human resource manager
  • Human resource director
  • Recruiting coordinator
  • Compensation specialist
  • Benefits manager
  • Human resource consultant

What to Human Resource Manager MBAs DoWhat to Human Resource Manager MBAs Do

Putting together a highly-qualified team of employees has become an art form. The HR department is the normally the first exposure to a company’s organization, whether it’s interviewing, training, or employee development. Human Resources professionals manage the administrative function of an organization. Their work involves overseeing employee relations, securing regulatory compliance, and administering employee-related services such as payroll, training, and benefits. There are over 130+ job titles in the HR field and most center around employee retention.

Although job opportunities are expected to vary with the staffing needs, strong competition can be expected for most positions. Candidates with an MBA in Human Resources Management will have a distinct advantage on those with a Bachelor’s degree. An employer would be most attracted to graduates who are up-to-date on the latest trends in Human Resources policy and procedure.

  • Compensation and benefits managers plan, develop, and oversee programs to compensate employees.
  • Labor relations directors, also called employee relations managers, oversee employment policies in union and nonunion settings. They draw up, negotiate, and administer labor contracts that cover issues such as grievances, wages, benefits, and union and management practices. They also handle labor complaints between employees and management, and they coordinate grievance procedures.
  • Payroll managerssupervise the operations of an organization’s payroll department. They ensure that all aspects of payroll are processed correctly and on time. They administer payroll procedures, prepare reports for the accounting department, and resolve any payroll problems or discrepancies.
  • Recruiting managers, sometimes called staffing managers, oversee the recruiting and hiring responsibilities of the human resources department. They often supervise a team of recruiters, and some take on recruiting duties when they try to fill high-level positions. They must develop a recruiting strategy that helps them meet the staffing needs of their organization and compete effectively for the best employee
  • Training and development managers oversee staff and plan, direct, and coordinate programs to enhance the knowledge and skills of an organization’s employees.

What Skills Make a Successful Human Resource ManagerWhat Skills Make a Successful Human Resource Manager

Decision Making skills. Human resources managers must be able to balance the strengths and weaknesses of different options and decide the best course of action. Many of their decisions have a significant impact on operations or workers, such as deciding whether to hire an employee.

Sector Description
Interpersonal skills. Human resources managers need strong interpersonal skills because they interact regularly with people. They often collaborate on teams and must develop positive working relationships with their colleagues.
Leadership skills. Human resources managers must be able to direct a staff and oversee the operations of their department. They must coordinate work activities and ensure that workers in the department complete their duties and fulfill their responsibilities.
Organizational skills. Organizational skills are essential for human resources managers, who must be able to prioritize tasks and manage several projects at once.
Speaking skills. Human resources managers rely on strong speaking skills to give presentations and direct their staff. They must clearly communicate information and instructions to their staff and other employees.

Differences Between an MBA and a Master in Human ResourcesDifferences Between an MBA and a Master in Human Resources

With foundation courses that include operations, finance, and leadership, MBA programs provide students with a comprehensive business education. The HR concentration is just one function of an organization. An MBA with an HR specialization enables students to align their concentration with their chosen field (healthcare administration, finance, consumer goods, or real estate). If you’re interested in HR but are also interested in business in general, an MBA with an HR specialization may be a good fit for you.

A master’s in Human Resources Management sets you apart from other candidates. It’s a highly specialized course of study. If you’re applying for a job within the human resource management field, a master’s in human resources will be viewed positively. It shows that you’re dedicated to the field of study and may want to pursue a terminal degree. By no means does a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management pigeonhole you to just an HR career, but it certainly is a focused curriculum. A human resource management degree is ideal if you’re certain you want to work in the field. If you’re uncertain, an MBA is a better way to go.

If you’re absolutely certain you want to pursue human resource management as a career, a master’s in human resource management would serve you well. A human resource management degree prepares students for human resource management careers with an intense HR-focused education.

Typical Classes for an MBA in Human ResourcesTypical Classes for an MBA in Human Resources

  • Ethics, Corporate Culture, and Social Responsibility.
    This course examines corporate culture and social responsibility, how to build a sustainable business, and how to promote corporate ethics and values. The course also looks at how to deal with groupthink, diversity and cultural awareness, civic engagement, and how to be at the forefront of using environmental and sustainable practices that have a positive global impact. The course will also examine personal ethics in relation to corporate ethics, governance, and civic-mindedness.
  • Human Behavior in Organizations. This course is a study of individuals and groups and their interaction. Students examine theories of motivation, communication, leadership, power, and change with practical relation to contemporary issues. They also study organizations for key design variables and reward systems aimed at improved performance and organizational efficiency through employee motivational programs, participative management and cooperative decision making.
  • Operations Management and Technology. This course explores essential aspects of project management, the tracking and measurement of key performance indicators (KPI), and the use of current technology to create automation and sustainability. Students have the opportunity to examine technology management and operations management from a strategic perspective, creating a common view into the different layers of a business. In addition, students learn to collect, identify, and determine quality measures and use common methodologies and strategic planning processes.
  • Human Behavior in Organizations. This course is a study of individuals and groups and their interaction. Students examine theories of motivation, communication, leadership, power and change with practical relation to contemporary issues. They also study organizations for key design variables and reward systems aimed at improved performance and organizational efficiency through employee motivational programs, participative management and cooperative decision making.
  • Strategic Human Resource Management. Examine key regulatory procedures and human resource requirements as they relate to applications in organizations. Analyze the strategic role of the human resource manager in performing functions of recruitment, hiring, training, career development and other contemporary processes within the organizational setting.
  • Leading Change. This course focuses on transforming organizations by introducing Kotter’s eight processes by which leaders effect change. Because organizations, leaders, and employees differ, various techniques and strategies are examined. The course integrates Kotter’s processes for leading change, organizational development and transformation theory and practice, and analysis of an organization which has effected systematic change. The use of work teams as a key change factor will have special emphasis.

Campus vs. Online MBA in Human ResourcesCampus vs. Online MBA in Human Resources

There are no geographical limitations for those pursuing a higher education. The MBA in Human Resources Management is no exception with ample online degree programs available across the U.S. From executive programs for working adults to traditional accelerated on-campus MBA programs, B-Schools have made their business curriculums super flexible.

Blackboard technology and innovative eLearning platforms have greatly improved the number of graduates in MBA programs by providing flexibility and alternatives for student learners. There are nearly 3 million students currently enrolled in full-time online degree programs with approximately 6 million students taking at least one online course as part of their degree program. The traditional MBA program now includes mixing in a few online courses to complete the MBA.

  • The pros of online learning include lower overhead cost which includes online textbooks, dormitory expenses, and commuting cost. The convenience and flexibility of choosing your own times for learning, and the comfort of learning in your own home. Online learning also allows for greater collaboration with students from all over the world.
  • The cons of online learning include limited social interaction, computer and software issues as well as the cost of high-speed Internet, often requires the student be self-motivated and disciplined progress through the program. There’s also limited opportunity to experience on-campus recruiting events, networking with professors, and joining student organizations.
  • The pros of campus-based learning include face-to-face and in-person interaction with instructors and fellow students, regularly scheduled class hours, use of the school’s library, athletic facilities, and laboratories. On-campus traditional MBA programs allow for a feeling of belonging that an online program may not be able to provide the B-Student.
  • The cons of campus-based learning include the requirement to travel to classes, lack of time flexibility, and housing costs.

How Much is Tuition for MBA Human Resources ProgramsHow Much is Tuition for MBA Human Resources Programs

The tuition costs for in-state on-campus programs averages $39,686.71 compared to a $57,530.33 average for on-campus out-of-state MBA in HR programs. There’s certainly a cost saving enrolling in an online MBA program versus the traditional on-campus program. The average in-state tuition for full-time online programs in HR Management is $32,223.87 compared to the average out-of-state online tuition of $51,165.00. With the median salary of $106,000 for HR Managers, you may want to consider an elite MBA program in a metropolitan location versus an out-of-state program in a rural setting. There’s a lot to consider when determining the right MBA program. Tuition costs may be one of the most important especially considering student loan debt and job placement of MBA graduates in the Human Resources Management.

Campus Tuition

Online Tuition

GMAT Scores for MBA Human Resources ProgramsGMAT Scores for MBA Human Resources Programs

The lowest average GMAT score for on-campus programs is 463 compared to the highest average GMAT score of 672. As for online MBA programs, the lowest average GMAT score is 480 compared to and the highest average GMAT score of 636. It’s important to note that even though most MBA programs require a GMAT score for admissions, some do not. The most competitive MBA programs will certainly require the GMAT. With that being said, that is not the only determining factor for acceptance. B-Schools also weigh undergraduate grades, professional experience, and a personal statement in their decision-making process.

Campus GMAT Scores

Online GMAT Scores

Student / Faculty Ratio for MBA Human Resources ProgramsStudent / Faculty Ratio for MBA Human Resources Programs

For some MBA students, their first exposure of their industry is through their professors. The MBA in Human Resources Management focuses on employee development, organizational leadership, and managing human capital. There’s a reason that some of the best MBA programs have smaller Student/Faculty ratios. B-Schools understand the value of having a more intimate classroom settings, especially with a highly specialize concentration like Human Resources. The best MBA Student/Faculty ratio is 0.07 compared to the worst Student/Faculty ratio of 14.37. For online MBA programs, where eLearning platforms and Blackboard classes are designed for seamless collaboration, the best MBA Student/Faculty ratio is 0.46 comapred to the worst Student/Faculty ratio of 8.35.

Campus Student/Faculty Ratio

Online Student/Faculty Ratio

Student Population for MBA Human Resources ProgramsStudent Population for MBA Human Resources Programs

The average on-campus full-time MBA enrollment is 361 students compared to the average part-time on-campus enrollment of 468. The numbers are very similar when it comes to online programs: 303 for the average full-time online MBA program compared to 482 students for the average part-time online MBA program in HR Management. If networking events, job fairs, and student organizations are part of your MBA plan of attack, it may be worthwhile to attend a B-School with larger enrollment classes. If you thrive in smaller classroom settings and dislike feeling “like a number” then you most likely want to stick to programs with more management enrollment sizes.

Campus Enrollment

Online Enrollment

Student Population from the United StatesStudent Population from the United States

As an aspiring business professional, you’ll quickly realize that a diverse workplace is an asset. The same goes for an MBA program. Whether your fellow classmates are from Japan, India, or New York, learning from B-Students from different cultures is invaluable. The Human Resources Manager role will be very different in China compared to Australia. It’s important for all students to gain exposure to different ways company’s operate. You may want to consider a more culturally diverse program if you plan on working for a multinational company or are interested in working overseas. Whether you’re an HR Generalists for an e-commerce company or HR Manager for an insurance company, you will invevitably work alongside employees, colleagues, or customers with different cultural backgrounds. The average percentage of students from the U.S. is 80.30% for campus MBA programs compared to 84.93% for all online MBA B-Schools.

Campus Global Enrollment

Online Global Enrollment

Faculty Information for MBA Human Resources ProgramsFaculty Information for MBA Human Resources Programs

The quality of an MBA program can be linked directly to the number of full-time professors with doctorate degrees. Business professors are a bit different than liberal arts professors in the fact that they have extensive expereince in the business world. The average on-campus MBA program has 90 full-time professors. The average online MBA program has 81 full-time professors. A large percentage of doctorate degrees is a clear indication of the quality of instruction. The average on-campus MBA program averages 85 professors with doctorate degrees compared to an online program average of 86 faculty members with doctorates. A high percentage of PhDs/DBAs illustrates a committment to program quality.

Campus Faculty Numbers

Online Faculty Numbers

List of Campus and Online MBA Human Resources ProgramsList of Campus and Online MBA Human Resources Programs

  • The number of on-campus MBA Human Resources programs offered: 56
  • The number of online MBA Human Resources programs offered: 24

Just because you selected a traditional on-campus MBA program does not mean you can’t take online classes. Most on-campus B-Students take a few online courses for the sake of schedule flexibility. The number of on-campus programs in Human Resources Management is 56 compared to 24 online MBA programs. Even though there’s close to double the amount of “traditional” programs compared to online programs, does not mean there’s a drop in quality. In order for B-Schools to stay competitive, there’s a movement to provide apsiring B-Students flexible MBA options.

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About Michael J. Marquis

Michael J. Marquis is a Portland, Maine-based freelance copywriter and MBA-graduate who loves writing about disruptive technology. When he's not exploring interesting parts of the world, you can find him at either Gillette Stadium watching his beloved New England Patriots or at a local Portland coffee shop working on his next copywriting assignment. Feel free to find Mike on Twitter @MarquisInteract.