Melissa Bryan Headshot

Melissa Bryan

CHRLS Alumni Association Board Member


  • Master of Arts 1997
    Human Resources and Industrial Relations, Carlson School of Management


Melissa Bryan, ’97, currently works as a consultant and HR project leader at American Century Investments. She previously has worked at the Kansas City University of Medicine and BioSciences Citi. Bryan shares how she came to attend the full-time MA-IR program: “After ruling out law school and a career in politics (after earning a BA in Political Science), I was working full-time at the University and looking for the next step to finding a meaningful, challenging career. I'd never heard of the MA-IR program until a flyer (yes, paper flyer) landed on my desk advertising an intro HR class that happened to be a part of the program. It peaked my interest, I enrolled, learned a little about a lot of the areas of HR, knew I'd found what I'd been searching for, applied to the program and never looked it luck or fate or both...” She says that her education helped her to develop her critical thinking and strategic planning skills. “Over my career, I've constantly applied both [skills] to my work - whether it was interpreting data to inform decision-making, identifying key industry factors and business drivers to determine the best HR agenda to support, or diagnosing organizational dilemmas for improvement and change. These skills have served me and my employers well.” She adds, “Because of the program's strong academic rigor and reputation, I've been fortunate to access opportunities I never would have otherwise.” Bryan says that she joined the Alumni Board to reconnect. “I characterize my career as one of building connections. The time seemed right to re-connect to where I started by volunteering my time and talents with the CHRLS Alumni Association.” She continues, “It feels like a full-circle connection back to the HRIR program, students and peers of which I'm excited to make.” Bryan shares this advice: “I encourage current students to keep an open mind by suspending judgment and preconceptions, soak up as much as you can from your instructors, peers and mentors, take calculated risks, know that you will be well prepared to enter your HR career, keenly observe and listen to those around you, and get busy making connections!