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Spring 2021 Advisory

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Kai Hamilton: Developing Leadership Skills Through Cutting Edge Curriculum

Part-time student Kai Hamilton joined Columbia University’s Human Capital Management (HCM) program in the Fall of 2019. “When I started my search for a graduate degree program, I made a list of what I wanted to gain by attending,” Kai explains. She cites the HCM program’s cutting edge curriculum among several features that factored into her decision. In addition, she notes the importance of the program’s scholar-practitioner model. Kai goes on to share that “the curriculum also highlighted a data-driven approach to integrated HR solutions, which is critically important.”  

Kai calls out a pair of classes she’s taking this semester, noting that they focus on the future of work from both HR and economic perspectives. “These courses are giving me an overview of the digital enterprise from non-human resources (HR) systems to expedite processes and provide data-driven solutions,” she says. The classes are offering insights on ways future HR practitioners can leverage technology and develop integrated methods to manage human capital. “Through the discussion posts and group assignments,” Kai reflects, “I am becoming more self-aware and developing my leadership agility skills.”

Outside the classroom, Kai currently serves as the HCM Club event chair, a position that allows her the opportunity to collaborate with a wide network while planning events like the upcoming conference, “HCM, the Future is Ours.” “Professionally, I am connecting with a diverse pool of leading HR thought leaders,” Kai says. She also explains that “this project has allowed me to build my professional network of diverse, multigenerational cross industry HR experts and explore non-traditional HR career paths.”

For those considering Columbia’s HCM program, Kai advises prospective students to connect with HR industry leaders before entering the program. She also cautions, “the program requires true commitment, so be prepared to balance studies, family, and your career.” For those in the program, she recommends taking advantage of all opportunities to network with past and present faculty members. She also suggests keeping the big picture in mind. “Focus on your long-term career trajectory and what you wish to gain after degree completion,” she says. In the end, Kai encourages us to remember the words of renowned business leader Doug Conant: “To win the marketplace, you must first win the workplace.”


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