USC’s 2019 Human Resources Graduates Ready to Master Their Careers

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Group photo of USC Bovard College MS in Human Resource Management graduates at commencement

Photo: Stella Kalinina

Graduates of USC Bovard College’s Master of Science in Human Resource Management program celebrated commencement, ready to advance their careers in a rapidly growing field. The program’s second graduating class is a professionally and geographically diverse group of candidates from 19 states — plus Singapore. Most of the candidates traveled to USC on May 10, 2019 to participate in the ceremony.

Organizational psychologist Robert I. Sutton, author of such bestselling books as Good Boss, Bad Boss­ and The No Asshole Rule, delivered the commencement address. Dr. Sutton inspired students by sharing his 10-point leadership philosophy for managers. “The best leaders are always thinking that they might be wrong, striking a balance between doubt and confidence. Argue as if you are right, listen as if you are wrong,” he told the graduates.

Since students can pursue the degree from wherever they live and through any device with an internet connection, many of the graduates were meeting in person for the first time. Given the program’s collaborative emphasis, they greeted each other as longtime friends.

“I have established friendships with so many of my classmates, and we continue to support and help each other even after the program,” says Crystal Montoya, who pursued the degree while still fulfilling her duties as HR business partner at El Paso Electric Company in Texas. “We truly want each other to succeed, and building this community with each other is what made this program feel like a campus experience.”

Other companies employing the program’s HR graduates include Accenture, Apple, Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Citibank, Honda, Hulu, McKesson, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Target, Walmart eCommerce and Workday.

Banner bearer for USC Bovard College, Alyx Navarro, lives in Los Angeles and had one of the shortest trips to the ceremony. “The program appealed to me because it offered a very unique format, providing a platform for students to obtain professional mentors, work one-on-one with peers, and in teams. I was excited by how student-centered the program was and how it provided access to a large network of likeminded professionals,” says Navarro, who works as an operations manager at UCLA UniCamp, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of underserved youth in Los Angeles.

Whether logging in to classes from across Los Angeles or around the world, students build expertise from a curriculum developed in partnership with top human resource professionals and taught by accomplished leaders in the field. “The program offers an online experience that feels like you are in the classroom,” says Jenna Kravetz, an HR analyst at Sempra Energy. She also notes that the live, online sessions enabled her “to build a strong network with professionals across the country.”

Outside of class, faculty members offer personalized guidance during one-on-one appointments with students. “I cannot say enough good things about the mentorship and support I received from my professors and other students,” Kravetz adds.

“You will get what you put into it but, in the end, it’s worth it because, giving it your all translates to stronger networks, robust knowledge and applicable experience,” Montoya says.

For current HR professionals, the program enables them to expand their professional portfolio with knowledge they can take straight to the workplace. “The program has [already] had a significant impact on my career,” Kravetz says. “It offered me the opportunity to expand upon my leadership skills as I gained knowledge in strategic HR concepts and applied the information learned immediately in my profession.”

Montoya agrees, observing that the program’s offerings have “translated to a lot of meaningful and impactful results at my organization.”

Designed to fit students’ schedules and needs, the curriculum is provided in both a one-year track and two-year track. At 24 units, the program can be completed in just 12 months for students in the one-year track. No GRE is required, and students have their choice of three enrollment dates each year.

USC Professor Robert Adamik celebrates commencement with an MS in Human Resource Management Graduate

Professor Robert Adamik and graduate on campus for graduation in 2019. Photo: Stella Kalinina

While many of the 2019 class already had jobs in the field, USC’s MS in HR Management also provides a valuable foundation for people wanting to enter the field. Students explore every concept needed for success in the profession — including talent management, total rewards, performance management, learning and development, employee relations and HR analytics. Courses also prepare students to keep pace with evolving trends around diversity and inclusion, technology and corporate social responsibility.

The Master of Science in Human Resource Management program is offered through USC Bovard College, an academic unit within the University of Southern California. Its online graduate programs, which also include an MS in Project Management and an MS in Criminal Justice, support aspiring professionals during key academic and career changes.

USC Bovard College is named for Emma Bovard, one of USC’s first students and an early advocate for equal educational opportunity. To learn more about the Master of Science in Human Resource Management, visit

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