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The Value of an Undergraduate HRM Degree 

  by Merry Lee Lison, SPHR 
My introduction to the field of human resources began as I earned a bachelor of business administration degree in human resource management from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. Since then I have gained 18 years of experience working in HR.

From my perspective, a human resources management (HRM) degree builds a strong foundation for becoming a successful professional in the field of human resources.

Having this educational background provided me with the fundamental knowledge I needed to begin my career in HR. While obtaining my degree, I developed a skill set that has been invaluable to my career. For example, I have applied the analytical problem solving skills gained through group projects and coursework to activities like interpreting policies, redesigning a medical benefit plan and working with the company president to restructure the design of our organization.

These skills have been key to my growth from an entry-level generalist to an HR manager to a strategic business partner for my company.

Participating in an HR internship is a great way to enhance the educational experience. I learned about internship opportunities from one of my HR professors at UW - Whitewater. My internship at Harley Davidson Motor Company involved working on a variety of HR generalist projects, including teaching non-management employees how to facilitate quality improvement meetings with their peers. Having this internship was a great experience and was one of the reasons I was hired over other candidates for my first human resources position.

Whenever I have the opportunity to hire entry level human resources professionals, one of the first things I look for on the resumes is an HRM education.

Human resource management is a great career choice because there are so many functional areas within the field. You can specialize in one area or build your expertise as a generalist, depending on your skills and interests. I strongly encourage any student seriously interested in pursuing this career to obtain a human resource management degree.

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