Hello. Thank you for the question.
No, you do not need to go through iTunes to sync your contacts from your Macbook Pro. All you have to do is enable iCloud
on your Macbook and iPhone. To do this,
From your iPhone:
1) Go to Settings -> iCloud. Make sure you are signed in to iCloud with your Apple ID and that Contacts is set to "ON"
From your Macbook:
1) Click the Apple icon on the top left corner of your screen
2) Click "System Preferences"
3) Click "iCloud". If you are not signed in with your Apple ID, do so now. Once signed in, click "Account Details" on the iCloud screen and make sure it has the same Apple ID as the one you're using on your iPhone
4) In the iCloud settings, make sure Contacts is set to "ON"
Check your contacts on your iPhone. They should be synced with the ones on your Macbook. Try adding a contact from your Macbook and then check your iPhone to make sure it appears there after 30 seconds or so. You can also log in to www.iCloud.com with your Apple ID to make sure all your contacts are there (and can even add contacts there which will then appear on both your Macbook and your iPhone).