Advertisement: open in new window
Corinne Mills, managing director, Personal Career Management personalcareermanagement.com Anything you can do to reinforce your business credibility will be beneficial to you in your work and career development as an HR practitioner. If you had to choose between an MBA or a financial services qualification, then the wider business knowledge of an MBA is more likely to be helpful. It would be a very useful addition to your other HR qualifications and it could get you shortlisted for jobs where you might otherwise not be considered. However, a few words of caution. MBAs are a substantial investment in money, time and energy. They do not guarantee career progression nor the uplift in salary often suggested. And in the eyes of a selection panel, an MBA is not a substitute for experience. If you are looking to prove your executive-level potential, then you must be able to show a strong track record of achievements that have added value to the business. Therefore, alongside any qualifications, make sure that you are gaining as much experience as you can on activities that show how you have made a positive impact on the business, including creating opportunities where needed. Proving yourself is the key to career progression.
Michael Moran, chief executive, 10 Eighty www.10eighty.co.ukTo be an HRD you need to demonstrate functional expertise as evidenced by a higher qualification. However, you also need to establish your credibility as a business person. You will be aware that the CIPD is keen to move the profession away from service delivery and process to being more insight-driven. This means understanding what makes the business successful (“business savvy”), being aware of trends in the marketplace (“context savvy”) and knowledgeable of the hard and soft factors that are critical for success (“organisational savvy”). While academic study is not the only way to develop this insight, the “outside-in approach” you get from a higher degree will be beneficial. An MBA will also help you to develop your network as it gives you access to alumni of the business school. However, an MBA is not in itself sufficient. To be the best candidate for an HRD role you must have spent time in a non-HR role, preferably in sales/marketing or operational management. Client exposure and significant line management experience are prerequisites. It is possible to defer academic study in order to build your business experience. So I say yes to a higher degree, yes to an MBA, and yes to spending time in a non-HR role in the business.
Susy Roberts, career coach and managing director, Hunter Roberts hunterroberts.comAlthough an MBA is an extremely good qualification that will certainly deepen your understanding of wider business, you have to question whether the significant financial and time investment required will get you where you want to be. You say you aspire to becoming an HRD, critical to which is enhancing your ability to deploy people solutions to meet the commercial challenges faced by the organisation. As well as broadening your business understanding, you need to further your ability to devise strategies aligned to these commercial goals. A better way forward might be to convert your existing CIPD qualification into a masters. An MSc will demonstrate your commitment to self-development and by focusing on something commercially significant for your dissertation, you might be able to get a secondment to a part of the organisation where you can identify opportunities to support the business at a strategic level. Also ask your employer what succession plans are in place for you to move into an HRD role. If there are no obvious pathways, ensure you also broaden your general HR knowledge to keep your CV strong for the future.