NECB Alumni Spotlight: Helen Bond - Master of Human Resource Management
Why did you decide to attend NECB for you MHRM degree?
Helen: Initially, I found NECB when I was looking to complete my associates degree because my husband was in the Navy and looking for military-friendly online colleges. After completing my associates degree, it came time to look into getting my master’s in human resources. Without question, I went straight to NECB to see what they had because of the great experience I had while getting my online associates degree.
As for why I decided to get my Master’s in Human Resource Management (MHRM) degree program?
It all came down to a phone call I had with Professor Carla Patalano that really set the standard for me. I was able to chat with her prior to enrolling so I could get a better understanding of what was expected of me as well as what I would get out of the master’s in HR program. She talked about the importance of time management and being dedicated to the program. We also talked about my career goals and how the MHRM program could help me reach them. It was this personalization that really surprised and impressed me from an online college. I knew I had found the right college to get my master’s degree.
NECB: What advice would you give to someone who is considering going to NECB to get their Master’s in Human Resource Management?
Helen: Plan ahead to complete your weekly discussions and assignments and set aside time each day to devote to class. Sacrificing for a year is well worth it in the long run. Your classmates will be a great resource because they are going through the same thing you are so don’t be shy!
For me, working full-time and completing the master’s program was the best of both worlds. I could use what I was doing at work in my discussion topics as well as employ what I was learning at NECB in my day-to-day job.
NECB: What advice would you give to students to be successful with online learning? Any challenges you had to overcome? Or any misconceptions you had going in that turned out to be untrue?
Helen: As a working professional getting an online degree, make sure you dedicate time to the class. Otherwise, what is the point of pursuing your degree? When I first started the program, the biggest hurdle for me was working around my retail management job. Each week, I made sure to review that week’s assignments and then set aside time and reminders for the due dates to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
NECB: How do you juggle / manage being a student while working and trying to balance everything? Any tips you can share with future / current NECB Students?
Helen: Be portable! There were many times I had my laptop and books with me on the weekends while visiting friends or away. Once a week, I would go to trivia with friends, and would often have my laptop open at the bar, chatting with classmates about a group project or editing an assignment.
For me, being mobile was the best part of online learning. I could travel across country and still be able to attend/complete classwork and enjoy life. Sure, there were times when I had to shut myself in a room and concentrate, but it was worth it. Again, I found I was able to take what I was learning in my classes and use it at work.
I can definitely say that I got more out of the master’s in human resource management program because I was learning alongside other HR professionals with different backgrounds and experiences while also working within the field I was studying. This allowed me to take what I was learning and use it at my job in real-time compared to being a more traditional student who doesn’t have the real-world experience from being in the field and working in the profession.
NECB: What was the #1 thing you took away from your time at NECB?
Helen: Dedication and hard work pay off and the sacrifice is worth it. I was up until, or past, midnight many nights working on discussion posts, finalizing projects, etc. – thinking to myself, “Would this ever end? Will it be worth it?” And it was. I acquired the advanced skills, knowledge, and understanding of core HR practices like organizational change, talent management, HR leadership and strategy as well as people analytics.
The MHRM program also set me up for success for the SHRM-CP certification exam. Without the MHRM program preparing me for this exam, I would have been way behind the curve.
NECB: What did graduating with your degree mean to you?
Helen: Graduating with my degree gave me the confidence to actively participate in HR functions at work as well as pursue a new HR role once my husband transitioned out of the Navy. Not only am I the first person with a college degree on my Father’s side of the family but also the only one with a master’s degree!
It took me awhile to wrap up my undergraduate degrees – life got in the way as it usually does. But I reached a point in my life where I needed to fulfill this goal, no matter what got in the way, for myself.
NECB: How did you keep yourself motivated all the way to graduating?
Helen: Keeping yourself motivated is so important. I’d set goals for myself when completing each class – always keeping my eye on the finish line. Each time I completed a class, I would do something fun and/or relaxing as a reward and to also pump myself up for the next one. My husband and family were also extremely supportive and pushed me when I was feeling frustrated or needed a little extra motivation.
NECB: What’s your goal(s) / plan(s) for the future?
Helen: My professional goals are to continue on the path of working in Talent Acquisition and Recruiting while keeping up on more strategic functions to open the door to a Human Resources Business Partner role down the road. I also plan on taking my SHRM-SCP exam within the next year or so.
NECB: Have you noticed if the knowledge and skills you’ve acquired at NECB have helped with your performance at work? If so, how?
Helen: Definitely! The #1 soft skill I took away is time management.
The knowledge and skills I acquired from my human resources and business courses helps empower and give me confidence to know I can be successful in whatever I set my mind to accomplish. The master’s in HR program also helped me figure out what direction I want to go in within HR. I always thought I’d continue working in employee relations, but I found I really enjoy recruiting, onboarding and workplace culture more.