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In Their Own Words: Six Ways Columbia’s Human Capital Management Program Sets Its Students Up for Success

Six students and alumni from the M.S. in Human Capital Management program at Columbia University share their biggest takeaways from the program and its value in navigating the post-pandemic world.

Lindsey McClain-Pinkett, '21SPS, Chief of Staff to the Senior Vice President of Transformation & Culture, IBM — Becoming a Strong and Well-Rounded Leader

As a current student of the HCM program, Lindsey has found that it allows her to choose the specific direction in HR she would like to pursue. With the many available resources helping her discover the nuances of each direction, the program will help her explore a wide array of specializations and refine her leadership skills.

“This program is making me a stronger leader. I have the ability to hone and mold the HR professional that I want to be. I have a lot of flexibility to explore that and I'm getting feedback from some of the best in the business,” McClain-Pinkett says.

Jay Niblick, ’21SPS, Chief Strategic Officer & Co-Founder, WizeHire — Enhancing Current HR Roles

Jay Niblick, an incoming student in the HCM program, is completing his degree parallel to his work as the Chief Strategic Officer & Co-Founder at WizeHire. And just like his peers who balance their academic and professional lives day-to-day, he has found the opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in class to his current projects the most valuable. He can now observe in real-time how the issues discussed in his classes relate to the problem-solving he does with the leadership team in his company.

“I can personally say we’re getting practical ideas that we’re taking back to work. At my company, we instituted a weekly review with the leadership team, where I talk about topics that I learned recently in the Columbia program," Niblick says.

Raisa Ramalho, ’20SPS, Vice President, Compensation, Citibank — Preparation to Effectively Navigate Uncertain Times

The pandemic has underscored the importance of people analytics and human capital management as companies struggle to maintain stability and stay afloat. In this post-pandemic context, the HCM program provides a comprehensive overview of hands-on strategies and frameworks that students learn to apply in these complex and uncertain situations.

“Human capital management is even more important now more than ever. With the structure and framework that I learned from the HCM program at Columbia, I really have an advantage; we've already discussed those strategies ahead of time," Ramalho says.

Michael Ray Almario, ’20SPS, HR Manager, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas — Theory in Practice

The students in the HCM program don’t just gain insight into theoretical frameworks and principles driving human capital management; they discuss the concepts in real-life scenarios during a time when human capital strategies are key to companies adjusting to the new normal.

“A lot of the discussions we’re having are about how organizations can adjust their workforce to adapt. Having to go through this program in this pandemic is very valuable because it exposed us to what we are learning in theory."

Stephen Grove, ’21SPS, Project Manager, Diversity, Talent and Training, Bloomberg News — Industry Leaders as Faculty

The faculty behind the HCM program aren’t just academic professionals—they are leaders with 10 to 20+ years of experience in the field who have witnessed the industry evolve, change and transform. As a result, students gain exposure to real-life strategy applications through the shared examples of their professors.

“There are so many issues that we're facing today that we didn't even face at the beginning of the semester. It's so beneficial for us to have working professionals as professors who have been in the field themselves." 

James Joy, ’21SPS, Manager, Lerner Hall Operations, Columbia University — Asking the Right Questions to Succeed

After starting the HCM program, James Joy found himself challenging some of the accepted practices and norms in his professional environment at Lerner Hall Operations at Columbia, and immediately recognizing potential areas for improvement. As a result of his perceptiveness, ambition and curiosity, he was recently promoted from Assistant Manager to Manager.

“One of the things I learned as a result of this program is to make my department more efficient, question policies and question why we are doing things and how they could be done better,” Joy says.

Applications to join Columbia University’s Human Capital Management master’s program in Spring 2021 are open. Visit Deadlines to learn more.