CIPD qualifications might be the way into the professional but an MBAenables HR practitioners to play a role in driving the organisationThe article ‘What about the People?’ (Features, 25 June) has certainlysparked a vigorous debate about MBAs. HR managers and directors might now be thinking twice about doing an MBAbecause they are worried that they don’t deliver leadership and peoplemanagement skills. They should not be put off. I should also point out that business management qualifications for HRprofessionals are not confined to an MBA. There are currently 194 highereducation qualifications that include HR as part of the curriculum – fromcertificates 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 resourceselement of an MBA to an HR professional, and especially one who has already gotthe 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 businessmanagement qualification is not how it may or may not enhance their vocationaland professional ability to run an HR department. It should be about how it canhelp them achieve a voice in the main decision-making processes of theircompanies. Hence the question they should be asking is: how is this MBA going to helpme stop being the head of a function within a business and start being part ofthe team that is actually directing the company? They should no longer beasking: how is this MBA going to help me do my job better and climb up the HRprofessional career ladder faster? The reason why many more HR leaders are knocking on the boardroom door isthat the notion of human capital as balance sheet asset is gaining momentum, asthe realisation finally dawns that organisational effectiveness rests firmlywithin in the hands of the workforce. No longer will HR managers just be required to ‘hire and fire’ (andoccasionally even develop) staff. They will increasingly be expected to deliverincreased value in terms of the organisation’s human capital, including thetangible value of the company’s people to the shareholders. What should HR professionals look for in an MBA? I would suggest thatAssociation of MBAs (AMBA) accreditation is a good starting point. AMBA insistsall courses bearing their accreditation cover issues associated with people,interpersonal communications and managing change. They are explicit that theyexpect to see core courses in organisation theory/behaviour and human resourcemanagement. The study delivery method is also important. Busy professionals have neitherthe time nor money for a full-time MBA, but part-time and distance-learningoptions are now widely available. Above all, anyone contemplating an MBA shouldcarefully consider which business schools have both suitable electives onoffer, and academics with expertise in the intended area of research. I believe passionately in the role that the MBA has in promoting leadershipand management excellence in UK business and industry – a view shared by theCouncil for Excellence in Management and Leadership. Its recent report Raising our Game says the role of business schools is seenas vital in contributing to the future health of British industry byincorporating practical skills combined with more work placements. ‘World Class’ status for UK business schools is to be encouraged – by givingthem more autonomy from their universities, and allowing their business academicsto keep more of their consultancy earnings as personal income. HR professionals can be at the centre of this drive towards excellence – butthey first have to join the game by overlaying vocational qualifications with agood MBA. By Tony Antoniou, director of the University of Durham Business School Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. MBAs prise open door to the boardOn 16 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.