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Spring 2021 Advisory

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EY’s Nikita Varman on the Value of Human Capital Frameworks

Nikita Varman, ’20SPS, Human Capital Management, recently started a new position as Senior Associate of People Advisory Services at Ernst & Young. She discusses how the program helped her get there, and what current and future students should do to make the most of their experience at Columbia.

Why did you choose to attend Columbia’s Human Capital Management program?

I started the HCM program as a full-time student in August 2019. I liked that the program was wide-ranging, and covered many different topics within the field of Human Resources. I was also impressed by the faculty. I knew I could learn a lot, not just from the coursework, but also from their individual experiences as successful HR professionals. Since the program was at Columbia, I knew the education would be of top quality, and I would have access to valuable campus resources.

What were some of the things you’ve learned through the program?

The HCM program introduced me to several new concepts, theories, and frameworks that I have found very useful. I developed skills in analyzing data, data-driven decision making, using metrics and reporting, understanding how to read financial statements, and designing compensation and talent management strategies that are related to business strategies. I found the HCM frameworks to be very helpful in this program as they helped me organize my thoughts when solving business case problems. I learned a lot from panel presentations. They provided me with the opportunity to develop skills in making informative, clear, and concise presentations to multiple people in a short amount of time, which is very important in the real world.

What skills from the Human Capital Management program do you expect to use in your new job?

In my new position, I will be working on engagements that relate to performance, talent, systems, rewards, and analytics. The role is client-facing, and will involve making presentations, which I have had plenty of practice doing through the program. My clients will also expect data-driven solutions, which will involve analyzing organizational data and making data-driven recommendations: another practice we learned in our HCM projects. I expect to put a lot of the knowledge, skills, and abilities I have acquired through the HCM program into practice and to develop a solid foundation in the field of HR that will eventually result in a leadership position.

What advice would you give to people considering the program?

This program offers you the chance to build a great network with peers, the faculty, and the guest speakers who are invited to class sessions. Make sure to leverage that, as these connections go a long way. For current students, I would add that they should make sure to partner with the Career Design Lab, as they are an excellent resource that helps students prepare for their careers and connects them with industry employers.

Learn more about the M.S. in Human Capital Management.