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10.26.2020

Certificate in HR Management Prepares Student for Successful Move Into a New Career

VANCOUVER, Wash., October 26, 2020 – Eric Feldstein decided the time had come to further his education as he moved into a new career field: human resources. After years of gathering experience in a variety of jobs, he decided to make himself more marketable in his new, chosen field. 

He took action by enrolling in Villanova University’s online Certificate in HR Management program. He completed the program in May 2020 and is now settled into a new recruiting position on the West coast.

“I decided to invest in furthering my education because my bachelor’s degree in English wasn’t helping me reach my goals in a competitive job market,” Feldstein said in an interview. “It was time I learned something more specific to the HR world which I knew I wanted to explore more for my career.”

In the interview, Feldstein spoke about why he got interested in HR, what the Villanova program taught him, and how he plans to put that knowledge to use. He also offered insights into what it was like completing a 100% online program.

Developing An Interest in HR

Feldstein grew up in Landenberg, Pennsylvania, a small town 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia, where his parents still live. His personal interests include playing music, hiking, playing board games, reading and watching good series on entertainment streaming services. 

Fun fact? I enjoy playing a trading card game called Magic: The Gathering, and I’ve been playing it for almost 20 years,” Feldstein said.

He said his father, who is President of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, inspires him to succeed. “He is a strong leader in his organization, and I would frequently ask him questions related to the prompts and assignments I completed on leadership throughout the [program],” Feldstein said.

Before enrolling in the Villanova program, Feldstein earned a BA in English from James Madison University. After graduation, his career took him through several jobs, including tech sales, home mortgage consulting and working as an office coordinator, and then manager, of a dentistry group.

He then took a job as a recruiter for a small staffing agency in St. Petersburg, Florida, and his interest in HR continued to grow. Currently, he works as a recruitment specialist for Gateway First Bank in Vancouver, Washington.

“I transitioned to HR because I love working with people and helping them achieve their goals. I also like solving problems within the workplace, and meeting hiring needs of an organization through selective targeting of talent,” Feldstein said. 

He said recruiting is also intriguing, because in some ways it resembles sales. However, he said, it is “much more meaningful since this is someone’s life and career that will be affected if they make a switch to the company you are recruiting them to. It is like consulting but on a more personal level, and it is a business of building relationships, which I like as well.”

Why Villanova?

Feldstein chose Villanova’s Certificate in HR Management because the faculty are practitioners and the school has a good reputation. “I’ve only heard great things about Villanova,” he said.

He said he gained knowledge about HR processes and the industry from the program, including the rules, regulations and strategies that ensure a “positive and productive HR environment.”

Feldstein said he has put what he learned to work in his current job. Specifically, he’s used the knowledge to help him navigate the interview process. He also said the program helped him map out a career for himself.

His next step is to take what he’s learned and build a career within his current organization. “I’d like to have a position that oversees more hiring in larger markets so that I can help impact the lives of as many people as possible,” he said.

His Favorite Aspect of the Program, and the Key Takeaway

Feldstein said his favorite course was Strategic Organizational Leadership, one of five elective course options in the Certificate in HR Management program track.

“I love the strategy aspect behind building and utilizing a strong team to accomplish whatever goals an organization wants to achieve,” he said. His key takeaway from the program is “to lead with integrity, to set strategic smart goals for yourself, and to understand the major do’s and don’ts when building a team from an interview and hiring standpoint.”

He said the Villanova program has also helped him complete his work with confidence. He also said he will be able to take what he learned and apply it to hiring for more senior-level positions at his company, helping them better achieve their organizational goals through strategic hiring.

Another key has been Feldstein’s ability to immediately apply what he learned to the job. He said what he learned in the courses have helped him interview more effectively and within the guidelines of HR law. U.S. employee laws and regulations are two topics covered in the HR Management course, a requirement in the HR Management program.

“I’ve been able to complete my work with integrity, which was a big portion of the [Strategic Organizational Leadership] class,” Feldstein said. “I now do exactly what I say I’m going to do and set correct expectations for both the company I recruit for and the candidates.”

Adapting to Online Learning

Feldstein said the online format was easy to navigate and “made the learning experience painless.” He added that he received answers to all his questions and could access information quickly when needed.

When it came to the course workload and requirements of the online program, Feldstein successfully managed his time by dedicating a few hours each day to working on the course assignments. He also connected with his professor and classmates through the weekly live class sessions the courses require. 

“In the live portion, there were numerous real-life examples given by the instructor in regard to specific cases of HR law and organizational strategy. Also, I was able to hear stories and examples of leadership do’s and don’ts from other classmates who were currently working in their field. They discussed how what we were learning could help and apply to their situations.”

Feldstein added that his student success representative always answered his questions in a timely manner. He added that “payments, timeframes and questions about specific courses were all answered clearly, and I felt confident that I was getting the most out of the program, thanks to them.”

Asked what advice he would give current and prospective students, Feldstein said: “Make sure you carve out the time to study and really learn the material. This is a type of program that is interactive and if you aren’t prepared to engage with the live lectures and study on your own time, you won’t get the most the program has to offer.”

About Gateway First Bank 

Gateway First Bank is a leading financial institution that provides banking and mortgage services for consumers and commercial customers. Headquartered in Jenks, Oklahoma, Gateway is a $1.9 billion asset sized bank with a strong mortgage operation.  Gateway is one of the largest banking and mortgage operations in the United States with six bank branches in Oklahoma, over 160 mortgage centers in 42 states, and almost 1,600 employees.  Learn more at www.GatewayFirst.com. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender (NMLS 7233)

Follow Gateway First on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/GatewayFirstBank/), LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/gatewayfirst/) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/Gateway1st).

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