All About People

PROVO, Utah – Dec 12, 2018 – Rachel McDougal is no stranger to the stereotypes associated with human resources. The most common one she hears about is Toby Flenderson, HR representative and chief scapegoat from the TV series The Office. However, as a senior in the human resource management program (HRM) at the BYU Marriott School of Business, she understands that, unlike the unassertive Toby, HR professionals can provide essential services for their organizations.

As an HRM major, McDougal is constantly trying to answer this overarching question: ‘How can I help a business increase its value through the use of its people?’ It’s that focus on people that attracted McDougal to the HRM program at BYU Marriott in the first place. 

Prior to serving a mission in Spokane, Washington, McDougal was a teaching major in BYU’s McKay School of Education. However, after returning home from her mission, she was drawn to BYU Marriott and the unique opportunities the school offered after her cousins invited her to attend a Women in Business event. 

“I learned there’s something valuable about getting a business education for people interested in all different kinds of career paths,” McDougal says. “You learn how to navigate the world and how to network with people.”

Confident that she belonged in BYU Marriott, McDougal spent the first semester after her mission exploring virtually every major the school had to offer at the time. “I club-hopped for a whole semester,” she says. “My strategy was to learn about all different kinds of majors, and I found that HR was the one that aligned most with the skill set I have. You want to go where your strengths are.” 

For McDougal, those strengths include the ability to connect with people from many different backgrounds. Hence, she wanted to find a field or discipline where she would be able to make a positive impact in the lives of blue-collar, Hispanic workers, the people she served among as a Spanish-speaking missionary in rural Washington. Ultimately, she determined that the HRM major would best prepare her for such a role, so she applied to the program and hasn’t looked back. 

Now McDougal has her sights set on a career where she can work directly with the underserved workers she is passionate about helping. “I’d ultimately like to end up in an HR generalist role in the manufacturing industry,” McDougal says. “That way I can be a little bit more hands-on and closer to the people I’m trying to help, versus up in corporate headquarters doing a specific function of HR.” 

McDougal had the occasion to develop her HR acumen this past summer, completing two internships: one with an insurance agency and the other at an agriculture company. Both opportunities provided her with a heightened perspective on the functions of the business world and reaffirmed her desire to add value to businesses through their own people. 

“My background with working class people has helped me realize that businesses and organizations are all about the people that are in them, especially about the people you may not initially notice,” McDougal says. “And HR isn’t just about how you can use those people to make your organizations better but also make those peoples’ personal lives better.”

A photo of Rachel McDougal smiling
Rachel McDougal

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Carson Perry