My name is Pao Kue, I'm a first year MA-HRIR student at the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management. There are approximately 70 of us first year and 70 second year students in the full time program. There are also about 100 part time students in the program. The cohorts are very friendly, everyone tries to leverage each other; from giving interview tips, sharing information in class projects, or even providing emotional support. Everyone tries to enjoy their two years together knowing that we will all be colleagues for years to come. The diversity of the program is amazing, many of us are from out of state or born in another country (me included)!
Coming straight from my undergraduate with no corporate experience, I was a bit worried about finding an internship. An internship during the summer gives us valuable work experience and can lead to a full time offer at end of the program. This year, about half the student population will have an internship offer before the Thanksgiving break, just 4 months into the 2 year program.
Companies that have recruited fellow cohort members include Chevron, Yum Brands, Microsoft, and Exxon Mobil to name a few. Knowing the high skill set that many of my cohort members have because of their work experience, I decided to enhance my internship possibilities by recruiting by searching online and outside the Graduate Business Career Center (GBCC) as well as taking advantage of the GBCC programs and assistance. I had a number of 1st round interviews and some 2nd round interviews, 2nd round interviews included flying out-of-state to company headquarters. Luckily, everything was paid for by the recruiting companies when I traveled. My offers were disclosed 2 weeks ago. Many fellow cohort members received their offers and the news was celebrated.
Along with the grueling interview process, most full time first year students are managing 12 graduate credits in Staffing, Training and Development, Business Principles for the HR Professional, and Using Data Metrics and HR. The average is 12 credits, but students can take as many as 17 credits per semester. Because of opportunities to study abroad in the spring of 2014, number of students, myself included, are taking 16 credits this semester. The extra two courses include International HR Management and Personnel Economics.
My courses in Staffing, Business Principles, Data Metrics (statistics), International HR, and Personnel Economics have all helped me in during my interviews when I was asked to review case studies. It's amazing how one can learn so much in a short amount of time and apply it to real HR scenarios during interview case studies!
All in all, my experience at the Carlson School has been most interesting. Working 10 hours a week (others work as many as 30), balancing 16 credits, maintaining a social life, I'm also proud to say that my extracurricular activities with bible study, University of Minnesota student fee committee, and acting has not dwindled!
Being a part of this program has given me the internal and external support to learn how to manage my time, build skills and prioritize. It's been truly a challenge thus far but a challenge that has already and will continue to develop me in the long run. Without the University of Minnesota MA-HRIR program, faculty, and current cohort members, I wouldn't have grown as much as I already have in the past 4 months.
This is my personal experience at the U so far as a 1st year MA-HRIR graduate student. I look forward to more opportunities and courses MA-HRIR will provide!