In Episode 57 of the CSUSB Advising Podcast, Matt Markin chats with Dr. Craig Seal and Dr. Andrew Beechko about the Human Resource Management concentration within the Administration major! What are students learning in HRM courses? What career opportunities are there? What department resources are offered? Find out in this episode!
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Welcome to another episode of the CSUSB advising podcast. My name is Matt Markin, an academic advisor here at Cal State San Bernardino. And on today's episode, we're learning all about the human resources concentration within the business administration major. And our special guests are Dr. Craig Seal and Dr. Andrew Beechko. Dr. Seal, Dr. Beechko, welcome.
Thank you, Matt.
Thank you, Matt, could be here.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and higher egg in the CSUSB? Maybe we'll start with Dr. Seal?
Yeah, happy to. Thank you, Matt. One of the things for faculty in the administration is a lot of us actually have prior business experience. So a lot of us coming in, have worked in the private sector or the public sector before coming into higher education as faculty. So for me, I had several stints as both a manager and executive in for profit, nonprofit sales, talent acquisition. And so that experience has kind of helped drive me a little bit in terms of what I draw on when I teach classes. And then my educational background is I've got my doctorate, George Washington, in organizational behavior and human resource development. And I've been at Cal State San Bernardino for the last 10-11 years and mostly teaching in organizational behavior and in our HR programs, both at the undergrad and graduate level.
Thanks, Dr. Seal. Dr. Beechko?
Yeah, thanks, Matt. Well, I am an attorney. I am a practicing attorney in the state of California and in the federal bench. When, upon getting my license, I worked as an in house counsel for major corporation of about 11 billion in sales, about 63,000 employees. And I did that for about 10 years. And then after leaving that, I went into private practice, which I'm currently in. I spend significant amount of time in court. I also represent clients, business clients, variety of business clients, local, small and medium sized businesses and organizations. And so I continue to do that. That's my, during the day, in the evening, I teach over at Cal State. I've been teaching basically, business law, employment law, entrepreneurship law, communications, and a variety of other classes. In the evening, of course, because during the daytime, I'm usually sitting in a courtroom. So anyway, so I like to bring and I think, what I love, love about doing it, and I've been doing this, this is my 10th year of teaching. What I love to do is bring in the life experiences, what's going on and bring that into the classroom and into it's relevant. So I've really enjoyed it, it's, it's been a really great experience for me being at Cal State.
Yeah, so you both have a lot of experience a lot of knowledge that you're bringing into the classroom. So our next question is, you know, how would you describe the Administration major, and more specifically, the human resource management concentration?
So the administration, and it's a little different in our college, and in some of the others, because our major is actually very integrative. And so administration is going to encompass a wide area of business and for profit, and nonprofit and government fields. So we have accounting and finance information technology, we'll be looking at marketing and sales, we will be looking at public administration, because most companies will have to deal with the public sector to some extent. And of course, in our department, you've got things like entrepreneurship and human resource management, and general management as well. And it's the HR the human resource. And so this is really focusing in on the people side of business. So organizations have financial capital, they have people capital, and part of the issue is how do you manage that? How do you find people? How do you train them? How do you develop them? How do you move them through the system? How do you maximize opportunities for them? And so the people side of the business is sort of what the HR or human resource management concentration really focuses on?
Yeah, and I would add to that, Craig, from the standpoint that, you know, when somebody comes out of school, when you come in as come out of college, if you're interested in the business field, it can be a variety of different organizations, you can go from a small organization of a small entrepreneurship organization where you're doing it yourself to a, maybe a medium sized organization to is what I've fallen into some large corporate org, large corporate organizations. When you come out with a degree and you're working in administration, you get a rounding of all the various parts of those companies because a company is made up of a variety of different disciplines. And to be able to go in and understand what say manufacturing is doing, what sales and marketing is doing. What are these other areas doing, I think, is a great experience that you'll get Get out of the administration background. As far as HR goes, Yeah, as Craig said, it's human capital, it's dealing with people dealing with, how do you get good people? How do you interview good people? How do you maintain good people? How do you build those relationships? And sometimes what you have to do if things aren't working out, so a lot of that comes with becoming, you know, understanding that people are assets of the corporation, and that those people are what make the corporation succeed. And that's, I think, what our or our group tries to focus on that, that human skills.
Yeah, and aside from the bachelor's degree, you also have the minor in human resource management, what would be the difference between both of those?
Yeah, so we do have the Administration major with a concentration in HR, we have a minor in HR, we also have also a concentration in HR in our MBA program, and we're looking to launch a Master's of Science degree in HR as well. But in terms of the undergrad level, the real difference is sort of where the students coming from. And so if you're in administration, it's fairly easy to pick up an additional concentration, usually, it's around six additional courses, if you are outside of administration, say you're in natural sciences, social sciences, education, arts and letters, then to if you wanted to specialize in HR, and you didn't want to add, say, three or four heaters to your degree program. But you really wanted to just take the six core classes that really focus on a particular concentration, in this case, HR, that's what the minor really does. So it really allows students who aren't business or administration majors, to be able to take the specialization of HR without taking all the additional courses that would come with the administration major.
Yeah, and I think to Craig's standpoint, is that the, you know, if you look at somebody who's going to say, baby, an education, education major, they're going to come out with a degree in education, they're going to teach, and if they want to continue on with their career, they want to move into administration, having the HR minor allows you to be, in fact, I know of a number of people with various school districts that are the head of HR, those groups, they came up the ranks from teaching, and from being out there. And so it's a great avenue in certain concentrations, if you're interested in that, to to get the minor to allow you to, I would say, enhance the degree that you're getting in whatever major you're in, because you might be moving into that field. And even if you're not in that field, you learn to understand the relevance of the people skills that you get from the HR group in there.
Okay, so let's say I am a human resource management student, what am I learning in these classes?
So the core classes that we're going to focus on are the issues, you know, how do you find and retain good people? So that's going to be a piece of it? How do you work with different industrial labor. So if you're dealing with a union or government entities, a lot of the coursework is going to focus in AJs area of expertise, which is law. And so understanding because it is a very complicated legal environment, when you make decisions about who you're going to hire, who you're going to promote, who you're going to reward, and sometimes who you have to let go. And there is a lot of background legislation that kind of guides how that is supposed to happen. And unfortunately, a lot of organizations and a lot of managers aren't well versed in that moving forward. So really looking at the legal side of things, talent acquisition, talent development, is sort of the focus for the HR concentration.
Yeah, and I think that the California is, in many cases, a very unique state when it comes to dealing with people and human resources. And with that respect, so as in dealing with HR, you've got to be on your toes. It's dynamic, it's changing. I've had clients that thought that they understood what they were doing, and it wound up costing them a lot of money, because they did not understand the nuances of certain requirements in California. But I and I think that and I've also had clients that I've gone to and I've asked them the question of saying, you said what to that employer, you did watch and now you're trying to figure out why you're in trouble. So that's why I think the the the people skills that you get from also the HR major of being able to issue spot what the problems are out there. And by picking up these classes, and by understanding the uniqueness of certain of things in California and even in outside of California, every state has its own unique things. Also, it's not just limited to the estate, I think all those that you pick up, and those are the things that we try to bring forward in the classroom.
Now, of course, the question that comes up a lot, I'm sure you get we get our advising appointments is the career question in terms of, you know, what can I do with this major? Can you talk more about that question and, you know, maybe areas that you've seen your students go into after graduation?
Yeah, there's a few different avenues, there's actually quite a few. So there is some students will follow a more traditional HR route, meaning that they would often go into what we call an HR generalist position, if they work for a company that sizable enough to have an HR department, those are sort of entry level positions, a lot of our students will go into working in government, particularly you look at some of the cities and counties and state level. And so some are going to follow that HR track, if you will, as their career moving forward. But the beauty of HR is that it relates to everything you do as a manager. And so whether you go an HR route, or whether you go a different say, you know, traditional management route, what you learn from the legal side, from the people side, from the talent development side, is really just good management and management practice. And so it opens up a lot of opportunities, you know, again, to go into HR, or it's a good foundation to move into the next level management positions for our students.
And on top of that, I think it depends also on where you get your first job. How big is the company? Where where's the opportunity for you to be able to get work? And having that background, sometimes companies aren't large enough to be able to have a quote unquote, specific HR department. But because of your background, and because of the students background coming out, they can help the company grow in a productive, safe manner, by by actually applying everything that they they've learned in their major. And, you know, they might be a director, they might be as the director of sales, but have an HR minor, and therefore, they take on those responsibilities also, as the company grows, and then they can finally come up with an HR department. So the background, you know, I think is Craig and I can't emphasize enough, really helps you with people skills, when it comes to management. And in anything that you do, you're going to have to have the right people skills, and that's kind of understanding the understanding. So we try to foster it through that through our department.
And let's say as students listen to this, and like, Well, this sounds very interesting, kind of leaning towards maybe declaring this as my concentration as my major in business. But maybe they're still on the fence of it. Do you have any suggestions for that student.
And it's funny, AJ and I just discussed this last week. You know, the philosophy we take is the best major is a done one. And so, you know, for separating over and over, you're never going to have the perfect major. A lot of our students in particular with the way work has changed are likely to go into very diverse fields, that may be very aligned to their major, but unlikely to be in so the best thing is to finish. And if you're interested in whatever it is, whether it's HR, accounting, biology, theater, it doesn't really matter. I would major in that, because all of it will pay off later, just getting the degree. Having said that, some things that students could consider. We have a student club. So Cal State University San Bernardino has a SHRM, Society for Human Resource Management club. And so popping into a meeting would give you an opportunity to see other students who are interested in it. And that might get you a little feel, you certainly can reach out to your faculty, us and say, Hey, can I sit in a class, I'm just interested, I just kind of want to sit in the back and kind of see maybe listen to a lecture and get some feeling for this. That would be another opportunity. And of course, now with the internet and Advent technology, you know, just sort of googling HR, if you will, or SHRM Society for Human Resource Management will pull up a ton of information that students can kind of take a look at, not just general on the field, but also what kind of careers are out there salaries, companies and other information. So I think all of those might help a student to kind of zero in but the most important thing is just pick a major and graduate.
Yeah, there's nothing better than walking down that podium after graduation with that degree in your hands. And Craig's absolutely right, that is the most the most important thing to do. And you know, I think, you know, as you go through your career at Cal State, and you and you're going through it and you're trying to pick up courses and you're thinking about it to it, take a class, take an HR class, so you know, put your toes in the water see if you like it, see if you like the faculty is there, see if you like what's being the concepts and that will really help you make a decision. I mean, I was, you know, throughout my college career, I started off as a math major and switch to ended in biology from my undergrad and then went to grad school. And I mean, it's all a definitive process of what you get through and, and how you develop yourself. But to Craig's point, finish, pick up a class on HR, see, if you like the concepts, see if you like what's going on. And it may be you say, Well, I really want to major in finance, but a minor wouldn't be bad. That might be something that a little time in, I know a number of students that are graduating with a major and a couple of minors with them. So it's always something to just keep in the back of your mind. And if you like the classes, it's really worth worth your time.
I started out as a math major as well. And then when it's psychology, and then did my master's in education, so definitely know about going from one major to another. Now, I'm sure there's also misconceptions that you might have heard, maybe someone say about human resource management, any that you think you might want to share on this?
I think there's a couple one of the big ones is a lot of people who start into HR, because it's sort of a people profession, you know, talent management and talent, organization, talent development, they kind of think of themselves as as many counselors that we're there to help the employees and you are. But the reality is, HR is a business function, and HR reports to management and the executives. So their loyalty is to protect the company, not the employees per se. And so you want to do that in an equitable, ethical manner, you want to follow the law, you want to have people blossom under you. But your ultimate responsibility is to some extent risk management for the organization to minimize its potential legal risk moving forward. So that's one thing I think students don't always understand when they first start, but they pick up pretty quickly once they get their first job or to as to you know, where their allegiances are going to lie within the profession.
Yeah, I think Craig hit one key key area more than anything else, risk management, risk management is your job. Your you are the client for you, as an HR professional as the company, your job and your fiduciary duty to that company is risk management. And risk management comes from educating, educating the management within a company being involved in the decisions that could place the company at risk. All of that is part of the risk management position that you have. And by doing that, and if you keep your mind in your mind that you have a fiduciary obligation to the corporation. And if you keep that in the back of your mind, it always puts things up front of who is the client, the client is the company. And and to Craig's point, risk management is your job, and to the extent and your job is also not only to know what it is today, but to keep yourself up to speed and to keep yourself educated that you know what it is going forward. Because the cool thing about it, which is I think one of the reasons why I got into law was because it's dynamic, you'll never get bored. It's not the same thing over and over and over again, it's not the same type of metrics that you're going to be using. It is dynamic is changing. There's always new stuff going you will always be learning throughout your career. And I think that's kind of the thing that's very fascinating, interesting to me about this area, as well as law, which is integrated closely with it.
Yeah. And last question. And then you mentioned the human resource management club. Anything you want to add in terms of resources that your department might offer to a student?
Yeah, there's actually quite a few, which is one of the neat things about students in HR. As you mentioned, we do have a club. It's the Science Society for Human Resource Management. But not only do we have a club, it's well funded, in the sense that the college the department are there to kind of help we send students to case competitions every year. Right now we're part you know, the kalscheur network. And so we just had a series of teams of both graduate and undergraduate students compete over in Santa Barbara. And so there's this opportunity to be part of this larger organization. We also connect with a regional group. It's called Inland Empire SHRM, which are professionals in HR, which is another opportunity that students can have. We also have although they can be competitive a couple of fellowships for students who are interested in interning in HR, particularly with nonprofits or government, which often are unpaid. And so this provides some funding. So there's fellowships available. There's connection to the professional society, there's the club, there's the case competitions, there's lots of opportunities to really be involved in HR as a young professional moving forward within our particular concentration.
Yeah, I think Craig hit it all. There's a lot going on. And you know, and we understand that students are busy. They have a lot of things on their plates. Many of them are, you know, working while they're going to school. And so but we just want you to know that there are there are things in your major that we have available to you that will, that will kind of broaden perspectives outside of the classroom that are that are also just a lot of fun.
A lot of great information from you both to share. I definitely appreciate both of you being on the podcast, to give this information to students and to parents. So, Dr. Co. Dr. Bucha, thank you so much for joining us today. Thanks for having us, Matt.
My pleasure. Thank you.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai