How to Choose Between an HR Program and a Regular MBA– I believe I have mentioned this in a previous post – In India, people are willing to spend more than 20 lakhs on a product and yet accept whatever variant the seller offers. What am I referring to? When I ask students who have received both BM and HR calls from XLRI, their preference or choice between XL-HR/TISS and IIM-K/MDI, most are very clear – the specialization does not matter, all that matters is the brand. Others consider the return on investment (ROI) as a deciding factor.
Choose between an HR program and a regular MBA is not as simple as people skills versus communication skills. People often think that choosing between HR and Marketing is about preferring to interact with people or possessing good communication skills. However, every MBA needs to have both people skills and communication skills. These skills are essential for managers and leaders to differentiate themselves from pure techies.
I believe that our ability to succeed in a particular field is more dependent on our innate traits and temperament rather than just our skills. For example, two individuals with great people skills and communication skills starting their careers in Sales & Marketing may not achieve equal success in both areas. Their temperament plays a crucial role in determining their success.
To determine whether you are suited for HR or a general MBA, there are three factors to consider. Firstly, HR is a support function, unlike Marketing, Finance, and Operations, which are line functions directly impacting a company’s revenues and profits. HR requires specialized knowledge that indirectly contributes to a company’s success by providing people and creating a conducive work environment. HR professionals rarely rise to become CEOs, while other specializations have a direct path to the CEO chair. This means that if you are ambitious and want to be close to revenue generation and profit-maximization, HR may not be the right fit for you.
Secondly, HR on average pays lower compared to other functions. Salaries in line-functions often have a high variable component based on performance. HR professionals have measurable targets, but their incentives are not as high as those in other functions like Finance, where there is no ceiling to earnings.
Lastly, consider your priorities regarding stress levels and work-life balance. While HR roles may have lower stress levels compared to other functions, workload can still be demanding. Non-HR roles require conscious use of stress-management tools to maintain a work-life balance.
If you answered “YES” to all three questions, then HR might be the obvious choice for you. If you’re unsure, rate each question from 1 to 10, with 1 being a strong “NO” and 10 being a strong “YES.” If your cumulative rating on all three questions is higher than 22, you may be a better fit for HR.
In conclusion, choosing based solely on brand may be too simplistic when it comes to specialized programs. Understanding your traits, temperament, and skills will help you build the right career for yourself. Remember, there is always a trade-off to be made.
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