CIPD qualifications might be the way into the professional but an MBA enables HR practitioners to play a role in driving the organisation
The article 'What about the People?' (Features, 25 June) has certainly sparked a vigorous debate about MBAs.
HR managers and directors might now be thinking twice about doing an MBA because they are worried that they don't deliver leadership and people management skills. They should not be put off.
I should also point out that business management qualifications for HR professionals are not confined to an MBA. There are currently 194 higher education qualifications that include HR as part of the curriculum - from certificates and diplomas in management studies, through to first degrees, MAs, MSCs, MBAs and Doctorates.
The crux of the debate appears to be: how useful is the human resources element of an MBA to an HR professional, and especially one who has already got the CIPD qualification?
To answer this question, I think it first needs to be turned on its head. The really interesting thing about HR professionals obtaining a business management qualification is not how it may or may not enhance their vocational and professional ability to run an HR department. It should be about how it can help them achieve a voice in the main decision-making processes of their companies.
Hence the question they should be asking is: how is this MBA going to help me stop being the head of a function within a business and start being part of the team that is actually directing the company? They should no longer be asking: how is this MBA going to help me do my job better and climb up the HR professional career ladder faster?
The reason why many more HR leaders are knocking on the boardroom door is that the notion of human capital as balance sheet asset is gaining momentum, as the realisation finally dawns that organisational effectiveness rests firmly within in the hands of the workforce.
No longer will HR managers just be required to 'hire and fire' (and occasionally even develop) staff. They will increasingly be expected to deliver increased value in terms of the organisation's human capital, including the tangible value of the company's people to the shareholders.
What should HR professionals look for in an MBA? I would suggest that Association of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation is a good starting point. AMBA insists all courses bearing