Isaac Burleigh, a May 2022 management graduate from McNeese State University, is the first College of Business student to “graduate and certify” by passing the Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional© (SHRM-CP©) examination this summer.
Burleigh, who has a concentration in human resource management, was active in the McNeese SHRM chapter, serving as both president and treasurer. He credits McNeese for “creating a human resource curriculum that generates success and the educational resources and activities that have equipped him to be a leader.”
Burleigh works as a course developer at the Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana, where he develops safety course training for local industrial plants working on deadlines. He was a spring intern at the Council and was hired as a full-time employee after graduation.
“Through the College of Business, Dr. Kristin Scott, assistant professor of management and our SHRM adviser, developed a curriculum that allows students to be successful in the workforce after graduation,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today just a couple of months after graduation if Dr. Scott hadn’t always been pushing me to be better.”
Scott says Isaac’s certification is a “huge” accomplishment.
“The SHRM-CP© is a difficult industry certification exam,” said Scott. “Isaac is our first student to attempt the certification exam right after graduation, as far as I am aware. SHRM recently changed the eligibility requirements, which will allow all our new graduates the opportunity to take the four-hour computer-based exam.”
According to the HR Careers survey (SHRM, 2020-2021), 90% of human resources executives reported that they agree that SHRM certification is important for human resources professionals.
“For our students who graduate and certify, they can expect higher salaries (14%-15% higher) than colleagues who are not certified and 88% of human resources professionals reported that their certification increases the likelihood of a promotion,” Scott added.
“For students in the management major with the human resource management concentration, we have a SHRM-aligned curriculum that ensures that our courses address all aspects of the SHRM Body of Applied Skills and Knowledge and prepares students to take and pass the SHRM-CP© exam,” she continued.
“Moreover, our McNeese SHRM student organization offers monthly programming designed to give our students a ‘deeper dive’ into various topics with HR professionals. We hope that more of our students will ‘graduate and certify,’ which we expect will help them attain better employment outcomes than job candidates who do not have both!”
Burleigh encourages other McNeese students to not be afraid of seeking excellence, to take the opportunities offered by the university to network and to be involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible. “McNeese does an outstanding job of preparing students for the real world,” he said.