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CIPD top-up course vs MBA: impact on your career

Hello, few years back I have completed a Level 7 course and now I am contemplating on my next move. Since I work in SMEs, I feel that I am not getting the most out of the education as for non-HR people my CIPD diploma does not mean much. I am debating between a top up to get MA/ MSc or MBA. However, while MBA is likely to be broader and potentially could give me wider options in the future, it is much longer than only 6 months top-up and I am keen to hear some stories how and if either of those had helped to develop people's careers. Thank you.
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  • I did the MBA rather than the Masters and really enjoyed it and found it very beneficial. Gave me an insight into areas othen than HR and gave me confidence when talking to people from other disciplines ie accounts. I havent moved on yet (thats more down to me loving where i work) but a number of people on my course have since moved on to bigger and better roles.
  • I haven't come across many senior HR bods with an MBA. Thats not saying it would/wouldn't be useful but simply I haven't come across them and therefor its far from essential. If you are currently in a HR Adviser level position you need to think how you will sell this level of qualification to a prospective employer (if you are looking for career advancement out of it) and how they will see your narrative. One of teh biggest challenges for people in moving upwards is being over qualified and under experienced.
  • Hi Gintare

    I am in an HRD role and I have an MBA. I loved doing my MBA and got a huge amount out of it but would deter anyone from embarking on one unless they were very sure it was what they wanted. Do not underestimate the hours you will have to put in to cover the research and reading for each module. I took a career break and did mine full time over a calendar year. There were people on my course who were doing it part time so clearly it can be done while you are holding down a job, but you will need a lot of stamina and a self-sufficient partner or family as you will not have time for much outside work and study.

    I agree with Keith that an MBA isn’t essential for a senior HR role. It might, perhaps, initially give you a bit more credibility with fellow directors but that won’t last unless you back it up with a consistently commercial and business-like approach as well as solid HR knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, I also think that the CIPD qualification isn’t yet an essential qualification for an HRD role, although it has become expected for roles below HRD level, and I agree with Keith that a mismatch between qualifications and experience can create a real problem - we have seen that too often in these forums.

    You’ve already done a level 7 course. At this stage, you should do what you will love. If you won’t love it, don’t do it.