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School of Labor and Employment Relations University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Professional Advancement for Online Students

Pursue your professional goals while enrolled in the online M.H.R.I.R. 74% of online students are promoted or change employers during their degree or within six months of graduation.

Student Outcomes

The first outcomes survey for the online program was collected in February 2018, as our first cohort of students started in Fall 2015. At the time of the survey, respondents had an average of 8.9 years of experience in human resources or a related business function. Seventy four percent (74%) of graduates were promoted internally or advanced their career with new companies during the program or within six months of graduation. Graduates’ annual earnings increased by an average of $20,000 following the completion of the MHRIR online degree. Employer tuition reimbursement and veterans’ or other military benefits were the most common sources of funding a degree.

The survey additionally assessed graduates’ perception of the professional impact of the program. Graduates indicated that the online MHRIR has helped them move forward in their careers (4.3/5 average agreement) and that they would recommend the program to a friend or colleague (4.7/5 average agreement).

A second outcomes survey was administered for the second cohort that graduated in August 2018. This survey allowed us to compare job titles prior to attending the program versus job titles after the program and we identified that most of the individuals were in higher level leadership positions after graduating from the program. Graduates noted that their earnings increased by an average of $21,000 within 6 months of graduating. Of all the learning outcomes that our program addresses, critical thinking and problem-solving skills were the top skills individuals in the program felt they obtained. Of those that participated in this survey, 100% stated they would recommend this program to a friend or a colleague.

Expanding Your Professional Network

Students are encouraged to engage with and follow our active alumni network through the School’s LinkedIn page. Additionally, many professional organizations offer student memberships at reduced cost and offer many options for involvement in committees and local chapters.

Planning for Professional Success

The online program has a dedicated Career Consultant, Erin Mies, to assist with our online students’ professional needs. Erin is the co-founder and Principal of an HR consulting firm, People Spark Consulting, where she provides HR solutions and strategies for small- and mid-sized businesses. Erin supports students through one-on-one appointments (phone or video call), and programming with webinars on topics like Resumes, Interviewing, Networking, and more. Erin lets the students decide which other workshops she will offer throughout each semester. For examples, please see list of workshops below.

Example group workshops:

  • Great Employee Relations – Real-Life Experiences from an HRBP and Employment Attorney Perspective
  • Leading & Influencing Results through Performance Management
  • Specialist/Generalist and Back Again: Navigating Successfully
  • HR in….Healthcare, Retail, Non-Profits

You are also strongly encouraged to reach out to program staff to discuss academic progress, opportunities for professional involvement, and/or faculty areas of research in order to identify opportunities that best meet your professional aspirations.