I have completed a BA in HR and a minor in Business Law, and I'm considering studying for an MA. One university has a good reputation and attractive content, but does not have a placement programme and is not recognised by the CIPD. The other offers a summer placement and graduate membership to CIPD. Which one should I choose?
Victoria Wall, managing director, Victoria Wall Associates
As you have not mentioned your motives for wanting to study an MA, or what your future career aspirations are, it is hard to be specific. Assuming that you wish to pursue a career in HR, I recommend choosing the university offering the summer placement and graduate membership to the CIPD.
Prospective employers do pay attention to placements, but in the present economic climate, it may not be easy to organise them yourself. Therefore, a university that has industry links and assists with arranging the placement is a huge help.
Having HR placements on your CV will definitely enhance the job opportunities you will be considered for. In addition, graduate membership to the CIPD will give your CV even more credibility.
Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy
If you are looking to pursue a career in HR, the university that is CIPD recognised is the best choice. However, I have seen quite a few HR professionals take a masters at a university not approved by the CIPD, and then go on to take the full CIPD qualification afterwards.
You don't mention anything about the reputation of the second university, but if it is CIPD approved it will have been through a rigorous quality assurance process.
The summer placement is a very good idea. Employers are looking for both academic qualifications and experience.
By working in a HR department, you will also get a better idea of whether this really is the career for you.
Clare Judd, consultant, Macmillan Davies Hodes
From your question, it would appear that you are in the early stages of your HR career. Bearing that in mind, I would highly recommend the CIPD certified course with the placement programme.
The CIPD will have reviewed the course content and certified that it meets their Professional Standards. The resulting CIPD qualification will then assist you in securing your first HR role. In addition, the placement will give you practical HR experience and