Human Resource Management

Rick Rabjohn

Rutgers MHRM alumni
IBM – Human Resources

Since graduating in ’96 from the Rutgers MHRM program, I’ve come down annually to interview HR candidates for IBM. When I was choosing between programs at different universities, many seemed geared towards either a service delivery-type focus or a career in academia. The focus of the Rutgers program, with so many business courses like finance and statistics, seemed much more integrated within the larger business context than the other programs I considered. The MHRM program enables the graduate to really be able to talk the language of business in their organizations. This is an important ability, because, if you can’t, you quickly become irrelevant. At IBM, we’re right in there with the business leaders and the finance teams, working side by side.

As a society, we’ve already migrated from a manufacturing environment to a services/business environment. Today, it’s the people you have providing those services that are critical. And, HR plays a key role in helping businesses maximize the effectiveness, productivity, and efficiency—the attraction, motivation, and retention—of that talent. For example, at IBM we look at an issue such as diversity as an issue of competitive advantage. We’re a global company; our clients are diverse; it’s imperative that our workforce be diverse as well.

HR is an important function for most businesses today, and the Rutgers MHRM program does a terrific job of preparing individuals to operate within that business environment because of its focus on areas like finance, economics, statistics, and legal—in addition to areas like compensation and benefits. If you really want to be successful in today’s HR world, you need to be a businessperson; you should always be asking the question “what can we do to help make this business successful.” We recruit heavily at Rutgers, because it has a large pool of candidates who are prepared to ask and answer this question. The Rutgers people here have done quite well, because they’re well grounded in the knowledge and skills necessary in today’s HR world. At IBM, we’ve got a great history with Rutgers MHRM graduates, one we’re confident will continue into the future.