April 16, 2019
When selecting a master’s program, there are several criteria that often impact a prospective student’s decision to enroll — strong curriculum, ample networking opportunities and average class size, for example.
For some, relationships with faculty members might not be top of mind, but the structured faculty mentorship aspect of the Master of Human Resources (MHR) program has been exponentially beneficial to MHR students over the last three years since its implementation.
“The faculty in the MHR program are invaluable and unparalleled in their support for their students,” said Beth Scott, a 2019 MHR candidate. “They genuinely care about developing each one of us into being the best human resources professionals we can be. I know that I can walk into any one of their offices and ask for help or guidance.”
Each class of MHR students is broken into small groups when they start the program. These small groups work both with an MHR faculty member and each other to help them develop their teamwork skills. Then, each semester, the groups and faculty members rotate, allowing every student to work with three or four different faculty members within their program.
“This program is set up to optimize opportunities for students to function within groups and increase the ability for each student to receive continuous feedback,” said Anthony Nyberg, an academic director in the MHR program and one of the management professors students can be paired with.
Despite rotating faculty mentors and groups, each student continues to work with their first faculty mentor as they serve as a student’s faculty adviser throughout the course of the program.
“Students find this helpful because it gives them a single touchpoint, like a career adviser, who they can go to for any specific questions,” Nyberg said.
Almost every member of the management department participates, making the groups small enough for one-on-one attention. Audrey Korsgaard, another management professor and academic director in the MHR program, thinks the biggest benefit of the mentorship aspect is that it lets students fill every role on a team at some point.
“The changing groups help students understand teams as a whole and lets them experience all sides of being in a team — communication, dealing with team conflict — everything,” she said. “It facilitates professional development more than just academics can.”
At the end of the day, it helps make the MHR program a student-centric program.
“The faculty truly care about me and my success and will point me to the appropriate person if they are not the absolute best resource for my need at that time,” Scott said. “Their direct mentorship has provided me with the tools and confidence I need to hit the ground running in my future career. I look forward to fostering these relationships as I know they’ll be invaluable to me going forward.”
By Madeleine Vath