MBA vs. HRM in HR Management – 2021 Comparison Guide

by Mitov Mitrovski

Many people looking to start their HR careers are often torn between pursuing MBA or HRM in HR management. Which one is better? Where will these two degrees lead you in your professional life?

In this article, we’ll answer all of your questions about HRMs and MBAs in human resources management to help you make your choice.

So, without any further ado, let’s get to the bottom of it!

HRM is more people-centric

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If your reasoning for pursuing a degree in Human Resources is an altruistic one, getting an HRM might be the right path to take. You’ll learn how to effectively manage people and only people. The focus is on the rights and wrongs of HR, conflict resolution, and the creation of effective HR policies.

The downside to this is that you won’t be able to learn much about other important topics related to your future profession. Being an HR professional, especially when you’re aiming for managerial positions, requires you to have a broad knowledge of business-related topics. So, we recommend you only choose HRM if you already have a strong academic background in business and management.

Of course, if you’re truly passionate about HR and HR only, obtaining a master’s in HRM would be much more satisfactory. Your entire course will consist exclusively of HR-related topics, so you’ll be able to gain a deeper level of knowledge than if you went for an MBA instead.

MBAs give you more career opportunities

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If you’re not quite sure you want to spend your entire career working in the HR sector, then you’d be right to pick an MBA. While yes, individuals usually pursue MBAs focused on HR to start or advance their careers in Human Resources, that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing the degree prepares you for. With an MBA, you’ll be able to learn much more about the inner workings of your company. You’ll also be able to apply your knowledge in a variety of positions throughout the company, which gives you more flexibility in your career.

What’s more, if one day you decide to start your own company, you’ll have all the necessary knowledge to do so. Your MBA will provide you with enough business skills to make you an effective professional, no matter what your position in the company might be.

HRMs will give you the technical knowledge

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Another great thing about pursuing a master’s in HRM is that it will give you enough technical knowledge to start working immediately after getting your degree. This includes salary surveys, behavioral-based interviewing techniques, expatriate administration, and many other essential HR skills. With an MBA, you’d have to learn these after you start working, so you’d advance slower in your career.

So, yes, if you’re looking to accumulate as much technical HR knowledge in your studies, go for an HRM. While it’s nothing that you can’t learn when you get your first job, having this knowledge will give you a competitive advantage in the job market.

MBAs are more marketable

Source: qs.com

As we mentioned before, you’ll have a lot more flexibility if you opt for an MBA in Human Resources Management. This also means you’ll potentially be able to earn more money. Since your skills and knowledge can be applied to many different aspects of running a business, you’re likely to be put in charge of many non-HR tasks.

Being a manager, no matter if you’re working in the HR department or somewhere else, requires you to be knowledgeable about business processes that go on in your department. Just think about it: a manager’s job is to create a more effective work environment by guiding other employees towards a common goal. Knowing what’s best for the company from a businessman’s perspective can help you improve your managing skills.

So, generally, if you were to go for an MBA you’ll have the opportunity to earn more. Business skills are extremely desirable, so you’ll find a job quite easily. Moreover, your skillset will be marketable in many different fields of work.

Overall, if you’re looking for a degree that will provide you with a marketable skill set and higher-earning prospects, pick an MBA program such as those at GCU.

HRM vs MBAs- pros and cons

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Now, when we’ve learned about the differences between the two degrees, we’re going to give you a short overview of their respective advantages and disadvantages. So, let’s start with the HRM degree first:

Pros:

  • You’ll gain a lot of technical HR knowledge necessary for advancing your career
  • The focus is on Human Resources, so it’s the perfect choice for people truly passionate about the subject

A deeper knowledge of the HR structures and

  • strategies
  • More people-centric and specific

Cons

  • Fewer job opportunities
  • Lack of knowledge in other essential business topics
  • Less flexibility
  • Smaller job market

Overall, HRMs are perfect for people passionate about HR who already have a strong academic background in business and management. MBA, on the other hand, is quite different:

Pros:

  • The abundance of job opportunities as your degree can help you land a job in a variety of different positions
  • Gain essential business-related knowledge that can help you make improvements inside of the company
  • Ability to switch careers easily, and perhaps even start your own business
  • Potential for a higher salary

Cons:

  • Lack of technical knowledge that can slow you down from advancing in your career
  • Less HR-related courses during your studies
  • Focused on business efficacy rather than on managing human capital
  • Not as competitive when it comes to jobs exclusively in HR

So, yes, MBA’s are perfect for people who are looking for more flexibility in their careers and also for those who are looking to attain a broader skillset that includes more than just HR-related knowledge.

The final verdict: What should I choose?

Your decision should depend on your specific needs and goals. What do you want to achieve? Do you want to be a well-rounded business professional working as a Human Resources manager, or someone exclusively specializing in all things HR-related?

Whatever you do, make sure to choose the right program for yourself. Look at University curriculums in advance, and find what seems best for you.

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