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Student Spotlight | Tanner Stauss | #VUHRDStory

I graduated with a dual major from BYU-Idaho in both Accounting and Business Management (emphasis in Finance). Since graduating, I’ve worked in several separate roles for a few different organizations. These organizations include a small start-up company, a small manufacturing firm, a holding company, a very large financial firm, and now a successful direct selling company, called dōTERRA. The duties in my various roles have spanned across many business disciplines and have all required some level of HR related work.

During the years previous to my current employment, I developed an interest in and passion for the people side of business. In my personal business reading, I gravitated toward articles in the areas of applied psychology, HR, organizational development, organizational behavior, and workforce analytics. Eventually, I decided to look for a master’s program that included a focus on these areas. After conducting some research online, I discovered Villanova’s Master of Science in Human Resource Development.

One of the biggest draws of the program for me was the fact that it is designed using a scholar-practitioner approach. I was very intrigued by the curriculum, especially with regard to how it focused on direct application of current best practices and academic research in the field. I was also excited about the prospect of learning from a mix of professors who have had both academic training and years of hands on experience practicing HR. In addition, as a working professional who did not want to put work on hold, the availability of the degree through an online format was a big deciding factor for me, along with the fact that the degree is the same as the campus program.

The benefits of being enrolled in the MS HRD program at Villanova materialized very early. For quite some time, I had a growing desire to get into a role more aligned with my interests. A previous co-worker of mine, who had moved over to dōTERRA, knew of these interests and of my being enrolled in the MS HRD program. dōTERRA eventually opened a Business Intelligence Analyst position with duties predominately over reporting and analysis of its HR and workforce data. The role was designed to have the analyst work closely with HR leaders in a consultative role in developing an analytical framework and reporting structure for all HR related activities for the entire organization. This colleague of mine, remembering my passion for HR, reached out to me and suggested I apply. I applied and ultimately received an offer. While my previous work experience and expertise played a part in getting the job, being enrolled in the MS HRD program was the single biggest factor for the hiring manager in choosing me as right person.

It’s important to note that this position was brand new and relatively undefined. There have been a host of obstacles and challenges to overcome; the challenge I was most anxious about was my need to quickly build credibility, trust, and rapport with managers and senior leaders. My anxiety was immediately removed during my first meeting with senior HR leaders when, during our discussion, they verbally acknowledged the fact that I was in the MS HRD program at Villanova and wanted to retain me as a resource for help in generating new ideas for HR at dōTERRA. As can be seen, the MS HRD program at Villanova has already helped me to be looked at as someone who can add immediate value. I look forward to seeing what the future holds with my Master of Science in Human Resource Development from Villanova University in hand and to continue adding to my #VUHRDStory!


Tanner Stauss is currently a Business Intelligence Analyst at dōTERRA International LLC. Tanner is on track to graduate from the MS in HRD program this September! Learn more about him & connect with him here on LinkedIn!Save

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