Will an MBA work for or against me?

I was ‘headhunted’ to a new role only to find the company felt it could not
afford me after a few months. To support my application for new positions I am
studying for an MBA, but are employers ‘frightened off’ by the thought of HR
managers studying at this level? It appears employers seek CIPD membership
above all else. I was a member of the old Institute of Training &
Development, but have never sought membership of the CIPD. What level of
membership should I apply for? I have been a manager for over 15 years, at
strategic level for the past six years as HRM for a tier one automotive

Doug Knott, senior consultant, Chiumento

You can join the CIPD as an affiliate but, at your level, employers are
typically seeking full membership.

To achieve this you need a minimum of three years relevant experience at
management level and the CIPD graduate level professional qualification. This
can be obtained through educational programmes, N/SVQ’s, accreditation of prior
learning or assessment of experience through approved centres.

Becoming CIPD qualified may not enhance your job performance, but it will
increase the number of job interviews for HR roles. Also, ensure your CV
clearly shows the benefits your experience will bring to an employer.

You ask whether employers are frightened off by you studying for an MBA. The
future for HR professionals lies in participating as a strategic business
partner within organisations and an MBA is, therefore, a key asset. You may
also want to consider using it to secure a role outside HR to broaden your
business experience.

Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS consultancy

With regard to the MBA, it is unlikely an employer would be frightened off
by a potential manager with both the experience and academic background in
human resources and general management. You don’t say what type of roles you
are applying for, but this may be more of an issue than your qualifications.

With regard to the CIPD, I am afraid there is more to it than applying for a
level of membership. Individual affiliate membership is open to anyone and
gives you benefits including its magazine, library access, local network groups
and CIPD discounts on courses. What potential employers are looking for is full
membership, either MCIPD or FCIPD. To achieve this you will need to either
study the CIPD professional development programme or undertake professional

Jo Redgwell, HR consultant, MacmillanDavies Hodes

While an MBA is held in high regard within business circles, it is still
rarely requested when recruiting HR vacancies. Are employers frightened off? I
would suggest this depends on the level of role and type of organisation to
which you are applying; and where the HR department fits into the business,
which would dictate the potential relevance to an employer.

Additionally there is a fine line between candidates looking for a role with
a career path and putting the client off because they are looking for the next
step too early. Within HR circles, the CIPD is still regarded as the
qualification to have, therefore an employer recruiting an HR manager would
expect candidates to hold the CIPD and encourage their team to complete the
examinations, too.

I would recommend you seek membership to the CIPD, you would definitely be
applicable for the MCIPD or even FCIPD if you have 10 years experience at
senior level. The CIPD upgrade department will be able to advise you, on 020
8263 3309.

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