An MBA may seem like a common path for professionals in finance, management, and non-business fields. But it’s also a unique way for human resource professionals to gain a wider, cross-functional perspective on business to support their ability to manage talent across an organization.
Tina Noronha, MBA’21, knows human resources and she knows her company, Cummins, where she has been advancing her career since 2010. A lifelong learner, Tina wanted to grow her business knowledge and expand her personal network beyond Cummins. She decided to pursue the Evening MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business in downtown Indianapolis.
“I thought it would be a good way to learn more about the various facets of business to support my career progression,” Tina said. “I didn’t have any plans to change my career path, since I plan to continue working in HR, but I thought it would help give me more options in the future.”
Tina chose the Evening MBA because of its reputation as a top-ranked program, its approachable cost, and its proximity to her work in Columbus, Indiana. About a year into the program, she was promoted to HR manager for Product Strategy & Industrial Markets at Cummins.
“I was already on that career trajectory but going through the MBA gave me more confidence,” Tina said.
As she moved through the program, Tina gained skills in strategy, operations, and sustainable business practices.
“In my role, I need to know a lot about topics beyond human resources. For instance, the strategy course I took was useful because now I know what people mean when they talk about strategy or Porter’s Five Forces,” Tina said. “I need to understand financial metrics to appreciate the health of the business. Nearly all the Kelley classes applied directly to what I do and the things I need to know.”
Tina said gaining new perspectives on operations and how—and why—businesses pursue sustainable practices not only shifted her mindset at work, but also affected her decisions as a consumer.
“We often discussed how it’s great to be sustainable, but it also makes business sense; there’s a business value proposition. Now, when I look at my company, or another company’s stock prices, or I read news articles, I better understand this. It’s broader than the ‘right’ thing to do, it’s something that helps business survive. I did a project on the fast-fashion industry, and it’s influenced how I make some of my clothing purchases.”
In 2019, Tina was among 20 Evening MBA students who traveled to Santiago, Chile as part of the Emerging Markets course to consult with a business in an emerging economy. In the class, Evening MBA students spend a summer quarter working with entrepreneurs to solve a business problem. Then they travel to the destination for a week-long consulting experience, spending each day at the business, working with the clients to finalize recommendations and implement solutions.
Through the experience, Tina says she not only learned firsthand about operating a small business and identifying innovative solutions, but she also learned a lot about herself and her unique strengths.
“At one point I said to one of my teammates, ‘You’re really good at finance, and this other student is good at marketing. What am I good at?’ He said, ‘Tina, you’re good with people. It reminded me that this is one of my strengths, and I shouldn’t overlook that because it’s valuable to others, and it’s valuable in my field of work. That was one of the big learnings to me as I went through the program.”