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Crossroads i'm torn between a Ph. D. / MBA / eMBA / graduate certificate or JD


Kareem Clyburn Abilene, TX

My goal is to be a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) in 10 to 15 years after I retire. Based on my research of the top 72 CHROs in large companies the majority have MBAs or JDs. I do realize that most of the people I researched have over 15 to 20 years of experience in HR and that either way I would likely need direct civilian experience in HR.

My current background is:
B.S. Workforce Education and Development (Instructional Design concentration) Southern Illinois University Carbondale

M.A. Education and Human Development (Educational Technology concentration) George Washington University.

SHRM certification (in work)

I have varied other experience ( )

However, clearly what I lack is business background/knowledge. I'm really interested in both organizational behavior psychology and employment law. I like the idea of learning about general business but I'm more interested in the previously mentioned disciplines. I want to be thought of as an HR strategic business partner with a background in organizational learning.

My question for HR as well as L&D professionals, besides experience, what would round out my skills better and make me more attractive as an HR business partner; Ph. D. / MBA / eMBA or JD? Furthermore, how can I increase experience while still in the service?

24 June 2019 4 replies Education & Training



Barron Evans Ann Arbor, MI

Kareen... foremost, thank you for your service.

My advice would be to focus on an MBA with a concentration on organizational behavior. If Texas is where you want to stay, then suggest moving to the DFW area (where I lived until 2 years ago), and find companies that financially supplement your HR/L&D work function while getting your advanced degree. To that end, a couple academic options to explore:

> MBA Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management at UNT / Denton

> Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Development / Dallas

As you're aware, the DFW business environment is robust … with no shortage of employment options … and an affordable lifestyle. Use LinkedIn as a networking tool to find resources for employer introductions in the area … after which you can determine those that offer academic support.

Best wishes for success! ~BARRON~

24 June 2019 Helpful answer


Dr. Scena Webb Auburn, WA


Please inbox me about online schools. I have been teaching online for about 7 years now and I taught on-ground. There are some pros and cons that I can share with you.



Ron Sinicki Hillsboro, OR

I agree with Barron's advice. The vast majority of folks I have seen rise to that position are senior managers. An MBA is typically preferred.

You are right though, the experience aspect is a key element. I have seen companies promote within, where they are getting a proven track record of results and performance.

Good luck!



Kareem Clyburn Abilene, TX

Thanks Barron! This is good advice. I would like to try to pursue education online because I'm still active duty and will be for the next 5 years. If anyone has experienced online MBA's and want to discuss the pros and cons that would be great.

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