How Walsh alumna Kristen Fowler landed an HR job at one of ‘the coolest’ places to work
Kristen Fowler (MBA ’15) credits her master’s degree from Walsh with helping her score a really cool job. As Vice President at JMJ Phillip Group, she’s helped the executive search firm grow from 10 employees and one location in Troy to a staff of 50 with offices in Detroit, Chicago, Denver and Dallas.
During that time, JMJ was voted among the top 100 “Cool Places to Work in Michigan” two years running by Crain’s Detroit Business. JMJ offers perks like upscale gift cards and fun team building. The company also pays 100 percent of employee heath benefit premiums.
Fowler says her Walsh education gave her the tools she needed not only to land her position but to excel in it. “A lot of Walsh professors have real-world experience. They work in the industry and can bring those stories into the classroom,” she says.
SECOND-GENERATION WALSH GRAD
Fowler graduated from Dakota High School in Macomb, earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Michigan State University and went to work for Target as an executive team leader. Within her first year, Target offered tuition assistance and Fowler jumped at the chance to pursue an advanced degree.
She explored Walsh because her dad, William Zierau (BBA ’82), and her mom, Debbie Kronner Zierau (BBA ’01), both earned bachelor’s degrees from the business school, and she had heard good things about it from friends as well. She was impressed that Walsh offered the opportunity to mix online and in-person classes. “I really liked the flexibility and the different program offerings,” she says. “Walsh allows you to tailor your schedule to what works for you.”
In 2012, she enrolled in Walsh’s Master of Business Administration program, specializing in human resources. “I thought it would make me more marketable,” she explains. “I like being able to help people make an impact on their own personal careers.”
HUMAN RESOURCES SPECIALTY
During her last semester at Walsh, Fowler left Target to join JMJ. She loves her role in recruiting and internal team management, helping to grow the team. “Our goal is to hit the $20 million mark in revenue in the next five years. We have aggressive plans in place and lots of hiring to be done,” she says. JMJ has participated in Walsh job fairs, and Fowler says she looks to recruit Walsh alumni.
Fowler recommends Walsh for busy professionals looking to get promoted or pivot their career. She suggests human resources specifically for problem solvers who enjoy working with people from all different backgrounds. “You have to understand the best situation for employees while keeping the best interest of the company in mind and upholding all the laws and regulations that are in place,” she says. In addition to her MBA, Fowler is certified by the Society for Human Resource Management.
She balances her busy career with family. She and her husband, Jeff, had their first child, David, in June 2021. As a busy mom, she can relate to others who need to be efficient as they pursue their dreams. “For people working full time, Walsh is a great option,” she says. “They only focus on business so you’re not wasting your time and money.”