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Darla Moore School of Business

Alumna combines education degree with MHR to become strategic HR business partner with international oil and gas company

Image of Shannon Wolcott McGuire

Moore School Master of Human Resources alumna Shannon Wolcott McGuire (’14 MHR) decided to use the teaching skills that she gained during her undergraduate degree to pursue a career in the human resources field with a multinational company.

McGuire obtained her undergraduate degree in special education and teaching in 2013 from Texas A&M University. However, during her senior year in the special education teaching program, McGuire knew she wanted to pursue a master’s degree in either speech pathology or human resources.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I was interested in furthering my education and supporting others in achieving their goals,” McGuire said. “To get a feel for both professions, I spoke with graduate students in the speech pathology and human resources management programs at Texas A&M and attended their orientation sessions. Ultimately, I concluded that HR was a better career fit for me and found many skills I had gained while teaching that I could leverage in HR.”

When McGuire committed to get her MHR, she researched many different university programs to determine which would be the best fit for her. She said when she visited the Moore School, she knew it was the place for her.

“I researched several MHR programs, including South Carolina, Purdue, Texas A&M and Ohio State,” she said. “As I was comparing MHR programs, I was particularly impressed with what South Carolina’s MHR program offered. I found that their faculty went above and beyond. They proactively connected me with current and former students, scheduled meetings with professors, gave me a campus tour and invited me to participate in an MHR class. I felt like family even before accepting my admission offer. In addition, the high job placement rate, renowned professors, paid internship, average starting salaries, impressive curriculum and study abroad program solidified my decision.”

Since graduating from the MHR program six years ago, McGuire has held many different roles in the human resources field. Currently, she is supporting the ExxonMobil HR leadership team and manages all communications to HR employees globally.

“I completed a two-year HR Leadership Program with Halliburton and rotated through several HR roles, including compensation, recruiting, employee relations, HR generalist and International HR,” she said. “I have had HR business partner roles supporting manufacturing sites with represented and non-represented wage employees. In addition, I have held roles where I was a valued member of the business-line leadership team.”

McGuire said her combination of both teaching and human resources skills have assisted her in advancing in the field and gaining more responsibility in her role.

“My background in education has helped me significantly as an HR professional,” she said. “Working with students with diverse backgrounds and different learning styles helped me develop strong interpersonal skills, patience and the ability to quickly adapt. In HR you have the opportunity to work with and influence people all over the world who have different leadership and communication styles. I leveraged my experience building relationships with my students to build partnerships with the business line.” 

As she thinks about the future, McGuire said in the coming years she hopes to gain a breadth of experience in a variety of HR roles, with the ultimate goal of being an HR manager supporting a global business line.

-Claire McGrath


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