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MBA in Strategic Human Resource Management

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Make an Impact in Business and on Individuals

In this specialized program you learn to drive success for people and business. Learn from industry leaders. Build a wide, lifelong peer network. Gain skills to contribute to business strategy at the highest levels with knowledge of how to impact the bottom line through effective direction of an organization’s human capital.


in the U.S. for Best MBA for Human Resources

Princeton Review, 2021

Industry-focused curriculum aligned with the Society for Human Resource Management

Large, engaged alumni network spans multinational corporations

Workshops, applied learning projects, case studies, mentoring, and industry visits


two HR Summit conference attendees having a discussion

The Wisconsin Full-Time MBA curriculum integrates a strong foundation in general management with highly focused preparation in strategic human resource management. You will begin taking specialization classes right away.

This specialized MBA program counts as two years toward the work experience required by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in order to sit for the certification exam—an advantage for first-time SHRM certification seekers, as well as current SHRM-CP holders.

Year 1

First Semester

  • Data to Decisions
  • Financial Accounting
  • Introduction to Financial Management
  • Leading and Working in Teams
  • Marketing Management
  • Operations Management
  • Human Resource Management

Second Semester

  • Ethics, Society and Integrity
  • Consulting Practicum
  • Business Strategy
  • Economics for Managers
  • Personnel Staffing and Evaluation
  • Human Resources Capstone

Year 2

First Semester

  • Compensation: Theory and Administration
  • Managing Technological and Organizational Change
  • Negotiations (either semester) or elective
  • Electives (2-3)

Second Semester

  • Labor-Management Relations
  • Negotiations (either semester) or elective
  • Human Resources Capstone
  • People Analytics
  • Elective (optional)

Applied Learning

Collaboration with executives in leading industries to create innovative solutions to their human resources challenges is a hallmark of the strategic human resource management specialization.

guest speaker at the HR Summit Conference

Expand your experience

Human resource professionals with a broad range of expertise regularly provide insights into the latest strategies and best practices. Speakers from companies such as Robert W. Baird & Co., American Family Insurance, Cisco, General Mills, GE Healthcare, and Exxon Mobil have shared their experiences in organizational restructuring, talent management, and human resources in an international context.

Build your résumé

Small program size means you get a lot of interaction and firsthand experience.

UW Health, an organization with 15,000 employees, participated In a recent capstone consulting project. MBA students standardized position descriptions following a merger and led meetings with key stakeholders to align long-term recruiting, employee engagement, and compensation initiatives.

Spectrum Brands enlisted students to find inefficiencies in their organizational structure. Students interviewed staff, created branding strategies, and summarized recommendations for financial and human resource leadership.

Expert Support and Career Connection

Knowledge Center

The strategic human resource management specialization is supported by a dedicated knowledge center, the Strategic Human Resource Management Center, backed by extensive industry support. Dedicated space in Grainger Hall serves as students’ home base and encourages collaboration.

World-class Faculty

Barry Gerhart

Barry Gerhart

Professor, Management and Human Resources
Bruce R. Ellig Distinguished Chair in Pay and Organizational Effectiveness

Barry Gerhart served as department chair at Cornell and Vanderbilt and as department chair, senior associate dean, and interim Albert O. Nicholas Dean at the Wisconsin School of Business. His research interests include compensation, human resource management, staffing, and international management.

Read Barry Gerhart's bio
Jirs Meuris

Jirs Meuris

Assistant Professor, Management and Human Resources

Jirs Meuris’ research sits at the intersection of behavioral science, human resource management, and public policy. Meuris looks at how work and organizations shape economic and demographic inequality in society. He has conducted this research in collaboration with a variety of organizations including universities and companies in the healthcare, finance, and transportation industries.

Read Jirs Meuris' bio
Woman speaking at a conference

Alumni Network

The alumni of the Wisconsin MBA Program in strategic human resource management are an engaged, supportive community of industry professionals. You’ll interact with successful alumni who enthusiastically serve mentoring, presenting, networking, mock interviewing, career advising, and other roles for our students. The program hosts an annual HR Summit to educate current students, alumni, and industry leaders on human resources topics such as international people management for U.S. companies and implications of artificial intelligence on HR decisions.

Program Voices

Ellen Chen
“The specialized MBA program as well as the top-ranked ROI made the Wisconsin School of Business my clear choice. My professional passion is to be a dynamic HR business partner and expand on my prior work experience. The strategic human resource management specialization at Wisconsin provides a perfect blend of strategic knowledge and skills. I gained comprehensive business knowledge and focused learning on how to develop a systematic HR framework.”
Ellen Chen (MBA ’19)
HR Leader, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Asia Pacific
Johnson & Johnson
Zena Stephens
“With the unique structure of the Wisconsin MBA program I got a full two years to gain HR expertise. The specialized program offers the essentials of a general management MBA through core classes, and I got very targeted skills and knowledge focused on strategic HR that helped me make an immediate impact.”
Zena Stephens (MBA ’17)
Sr. Total Rewards Business Partner, Waystar
“I value the support the Wisconsin MBA has given. As a student, I had the support of my professors who shared insights about how to better approach some of my most complex projects, and I continue to apply many concepts from my classes to my full-time HR career.”
Fatima Barr (MBA ’16)
Sr. Director Human Resources Global Supply Chain and Quality, Edwards Lifesciences
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Connect With Top Employers

Connect with employers through classroom visits, networking events, and applied learning projects. Frequent recruiters:

Johnson and Johnson logo
Microsoft logo
HP logo
“Wisconsin builds leaders with can-do spirit, a deep base of functional knowledge, and hands-on experience who are ready to tackle the challenges faced by any organization who recruits them.”
Ben Burney
Senior Advisor, Executive Compensation Consultant, Exequity

Human Resource Management Careers

Common job titles

  • HR Leadership Development Programs
  • HR Business Partner
  • HR Associate
  • HR Analyst
  • HR Manager
  • Talent Management
  • Succession Management and Workforce Planning
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Compensation Management
  • Organizational Training and Development

Your MBA. Your Career Success.

High staff-to-student ratio means you get unlimited support—and exceptional connections—as you step into your ideal career.

Learn more about our career-launching results

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