Tremain Bell Expands Knowledge Base in MBA in HR Management Program

Tremain Bell had the personality and people skills key to his role as a human resources generalist, but there was still something missing.

The Boston local filled that gap by enrolling in the Master of Business Administration in Human Resources Management online program at Fitchburg State University. He graduated with a 3.93 GPA in December 2021.

“There are a lot of great HR roles, but you don’t always understand business terms, like finances, assets and liabilities, and how they run,” he said. “It was an easy decision to go for an MBA as opposed to an HR Management master’s degree.

“I wanted that strong range to be a more well-rounded HR professional. It was a good opportunity to learn and advance my knowledge. It was also affordable.”

Bell, who works in his hometown, also had an eye on the future when he returned to higher education after a five-year hiatus. He hopes to someday become an entrepreneur.

“You don’t have to have an MBA to start a business, but it can be helpful and provide some guidance,” he said. “I want to use my MBA to understand business. It’s important for human resource professionals to know how HR aligns with the business and its goals.”

The extra time Bell had on his hands because of the COVID-19 pandemic also helped nudge him back in the direction of an advanced degree. The flexibility of the online format helped him focus on the degree program while working full time.

“There are great professors in the business department,” he said. “I have good relationships with the faculty. We talk. We use Google Meet. They’re accessible. It’s a great program that’s flexible and manageable. It’s solid.”

Chiming In

After high school, Bell wanted to become a sports broadcaster. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications and media from Framingham State University in 2016. He also worked for the NBA’s Boston Celtics.

Bell left the sports world because he didn’t want to relocate. His passion to serve underrepresented and underserved communities had him considering a career in higher education for a while. He enrolled in an education master’s program at Northeastern University before switching to human resources.

“I got involved in employee relations,” he said. “The bottom line is, I am a people person. I love to help others. I am an open book. I am big on honesty, organizing, being a people connector and a team player. When I saw the MBA program at Fitchburg State, the stars aligned. It worked out.”

Leadership and Culture, taught by Denise Simion, was Bell’s favorite course in the master’s degree program. Dr. Simion was also his adviser.

“I loved the structure,” Bell said. “She gave an in-class feeling weekly. We talked about real things, like globalization and understanding other cultures and backgrounds and how they play into the corporate world. Understanding other people’s cultures can help you be a better professional and a better person. That class was amazing.

“I also appreciated the news outlets and information we read to complete our papers. It was heavy on discussion. We reported findings, as well, to understand what kind of people we are. That was nice.”

Ringing True

Bell will walk in the commencement ceremony a little later than planned so he can celebrate in style.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “It’s such a blessing. Fitchburg State wanted to honor me in the winter commencement, but I wanted my whole family and my friends to be there, so I am going to do the May 2022 ceremony.

“Outside of my immediate family, I didn’t tell many people I was earning an MBA. I just did it. A few former college advisers knew. That was mostly it. So this may be a surprise to many.”

Enjoying the benefits of the degree came long before Bell completed the MBA in HR Management program.

“It’s changed the way I think and my perspective,” he said. “It showed me how to network in a different way. I always knew I wanted to go back to learn.”

He especially appreciated how relevant the professors made class content: “I graduated from college five years ago. A lot has changed,” he said. “The professors kept things up to date in real time.”

Commitment to school and strong time management skills were key to Bell’s success as a graduate student at Fitchburg State.

“The program is what you make of it,” he said. “Pretty much everyone is online now. I took advantage of the resources. I reached out to people. It’s important to get involved with the community — especially now that everyone is virtual. Make it as real as possible.

“I take my work seriously. I wanted to maximize everything I learned. Read the content, talk to your professors, build that relationship, have that constant communication with your professors and your peers. Go above and beyond, if you can.”

While Bell now has his sights on his graduation ceremony, his relationship with Fitchburg State is just getting started.

“I hope I can remain involved in the graduate business department,” he said. “I have a lot to offer and would certainly like to contribute where I can. I have talked to future graduate students about the program.

“I’d like to remain a positive fixture in the Fitchburg community. I love giving back. The MBA program is a smart investment.”

Learn more about Fitchburg State’s online Denise Simion.

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