Before enrolling in George Mason University School of Business' Master of Science in Management (MSM), Kye Farrow was a business newcomer. His MS in Management degree taught him about what it means to be a responsible leader.
“I learned that being a responsible leader means prioritizing your most valuable assets—the people in your organization,” he says.
Kye’s passion for responding to the individual needs of employees is what led him to pursue a career in HR, now working as a consultant at cloud consulting firm Collaborative Solutions.
His day-to-day makes use of his communication skills, people management, as well as prioritizing the ethical management of sensitive data. “HR is the heart of where the people in the organization are,” he says.
GMU’s MS in Management was pivotal in his understanding of ethical and responsible leadership. The business master’s program, he says, has helped him launch a career in consulting and proved vital in preparing him for a people-oriented role.
Why George Mason University School of Business?
With a bachelor’s in history from GMU, Kye wanted to expand his learning horizons, while leveraging his academic experience, through a management master’s.
Although he didn't have a direct career path in mind when joining the 11-month MS in Management, he admits he's always had an entrepreneurial mindset and an interest in business.
"I knew that for a competitive job market, I needed to supplement my liberal arts background and I felt that an MSM would generate greater employability opportunities," he says.
The MSM class of 2020 featured students from backgrounds ranging from liberal arts to science and engineering. Students arrive straight from their bachelor’s with a class average work experience of one year.
"The MS in Management targets students who don't come from a traditional business background and are looking to transition into business," Kye explains.
Learning responsible leadership
In his current role, Kye supports global enterprise organizations by optimizing their HR processes, such as recruitment and talent management. To do so, he needs to understand the value that different people bring to group settings.
GMU's fundamentals of behavior in organizations module equips students with the conceptual tools to recognize individual and group organizational behavior. Through a mix of class exercises and case analyses, GMU creates socially mindful team players, ready to assume leadership roles.
"As a non-traditional student, I joined the MSM thinking business leaders just prioritize profits,” Kye admits. The reality, he says, is different.
Kye first learned the importance of considering workforce needs when it comes to responsible leadership. He then developed an appreciation for ethical management.
Kye studied his MSM in 2020, when conversations around social justice issues in the US came to the fore. "I learned that ethical issues such as women’s workplace rights and equal pay should be at the heart of responsible leadership," he continues.
“Responsible leadership is about encouraging employees to pursue things they care about, from social justice issues to offering time to volunteer with charitable organizations and mental health support.”
GMU students also learn the technicalities of ethical business practice in the information systems management module. Students learn about how a business’ IT system influences organizational strategy and structure, for example.
“I’ve learned to keep ethical concerns at the forefront of my role. Since I have access to customer data, I do everything with the utmost care and precaution as I’m responsible for ensuring security measures are in place,” Kye says.
Launching a career in HR consulting
The MS in Management's emphasis on responsible leadership motivated Kye to pursue a people-oriented profession.
GMU MSM students participate in an internship as part of the program, exploring different work avenues.
Kye dipped his toes into human resources through an internship as an HR practitioner at a construction management firm. This internship springboarded him into his future career as an HR consultant, later discovering through his MSM modules that he preferred supporting HR departments.
From the invaluable experiences he gained in IT management and responsible leadership, in addition to the help of Mason's careers service, he successfully tailored his application to his current role at Collaborative Solutions.
His MS in Management degree, he says, made him approach his career and day-to-day work from a different perspective.
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