Management learning has traditionally straddled the parallel universes of human resource development and management education, between which there has been little dialogue or research. The article explores their relationship both conceptually and through a pedagogic example. It is noted how key elements of learning in organizations, such as training and development, have co-evolved with changes in management practice. Here, we consider the contribution of what has come to be termed ‘human resource development’ to shaping management, including its influence upon the education of managers. We illustrate this issue by reflecting upon the delivery of a human resource development–inflected core module on a Master of Business Administration programme in a UK Business School. Difficulties encountered by students in grasping the relevance and value of this module are seen to parallel difficulties in formulating human resource development in a manner that does not reduce it to a set of tools and techniques used to identify and manage aspects of the ‘human resource’ targeted for ‘development’. By exploring management education and human resource development, we assess whether they are natural partners or uneasy bedfellows in the contemporary development of managerial practice.