The Value of a Human Resources Degree: Q&A with CAHR22 Keynote Dr. Mark Allen

The Value of a Human Resources Degree: Q&A with CAHR22 Keynote Dr. Mark Allen


2022 California HR Conference


Recently, Mark sat down to share his background, insights on the current HR landscape, and the value of a Human Resources degree. Read the Q&A below:

1. What drew you to the HR field? Provide a little bit of background on your journey.
I’ve always been interested in the intersection between the worlds of business and education. That led me to pursue my research into Corporate Universities which was the subject of my doctoral dissertation and my first book, The Corporate University Handbook.

After developing expertise in Learning & Developing, I expanded into the broader field of Talent Management which was my entree into the wider world of Human Resources.

Why is a degree in human resources critical in today’s volatile world? How does Pepperdine’s MS in Human Resources (MSHR) program prepare students for current challenges HR professionals face today?
In previous generations, many people migrated into Human Resources without any educational background in the field. Today the world of HR is much more complex and having a degree in Human Resources will enable you to be much better prepared to be an effective HR practitioner.

The Pepperdine MSHR program is specifically designed to prepare our graduates for a career as a Human Resource Business Partner. In order to be an effective HR Business Partner, you need to not only be well-versed in Human Resources, you also need to have a solid background in business fundamentals. Our program is specifically designed to deliver both outcomes.

3. How has COVID-19 changed the overall industry in human resources? What are some necessary changes that HR professionals need to address in the workplace today?
If there’s one positive that came out of the pandemic, it was that organizations learned that the work could get done effectively when employees work remotely. While there are employees who have been eager to return to the office, some want hybrid options and others want to work remotely 100% of the time.

HR professionals need to work with managers and executives to stress the importance of flexibility in attracting and retaining employees. If you offer employees more money or more flexibility, a sizable percentage would choose flexibility. It’s a currency that is a vital part of the Total Rewards package we can offer employees and it’s a major part of the answer to the question of how we can attract new employees and keep the good ones we have.

4. If you could give advice to an individual just starting out their career in HR, what would it be?
Get a degree in Human Resources. The field is too complex for someone to be effective while learning it on the fly. You wouldn’t expect to be successful embarking on a career in accounting, marketing, or IT without a degree and HR should be no different.

5. What makes the MS in Human Resources program at Graziadio unique and why?
Our emphasis on both Human Resources and business enables our graduates to immediately engage successfully in the role of Human Resource Business Partner. The Graziadio School’s status as an AACSB accredited business school whose curriculum is aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) guidelines makes ours a unique online Masters of Human Resources program.

Dr. Mark Allen, Graziadio Faculty
Practitioner Lecturer of Organizational Theory and Management, Academic Director of the Master of Science in Human Resources program

The faculty at the Pepperdine Graziadio Business Schools hold a unique combination of robust industry experience and distinguished academic credentials. Practitioner lecturer of organizational theory and management and academic director of the Master of Science in Human Resources (MSHR) program, Dr. Mark Allen, is representative of our high caliber faculty and plays a significant role in changing the Graziadio landscape through his diverse business experience and commitment to the field of Human Resources.

Dr. Allen is an award-winning educator, speaker, consultant, and author who specializes in talent management, corporate universities, and human resources. He is the author of Aha Moments in Talent Management, The Next Generation of Corporate Universities, and The Corporate University Handbook. To name a few accolades, he was honored with the 2017 Global Training and Development Leadership Award by the World Human Resource Development Congress in Mumbai, India; the 2021 Pepperdine University Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence; and the 2020 Pepperdine Graziadio Business School Teaching Award. He was also recently named one of the Top 100 Human Resources Influencers by Engagedly.

In addition to his expertise in talent management and learning and development, his other areas of expertise include strategic workforce planning, the assessment of training and development programs, the evaluation of teaching and learning in postsecondary, adult, and corporate education, and creativity and innovation. Mark consults with both new and mature corporate universities and has served on the Board of Regents of the University of Farmers at Farmers Insurance and the Board of Advisors of the Global Council of Corporate Universities.

Register now for CAHR22. Take advantage of a variety of attendance options designed to align with your needs and budget! We can’t wait to see you, in Anaheim or streaming live.



Guest Contributor