Guest blog by Helen Taylor, Organisational development Manager at Damart, a leading brand in clothing for the senior market. Helen has signed up to start an executive MBA at Bradford University School of Management, starting in September and is sponsored by her employer, Damart.
The role of HR is evolving all the time and there is a real need to ensure we keep pace with new ways of thinking and innovative approaches. The opportunity to complete an MBA, have access to other Managers in different sectors as well as the expertise of the Tutors at Bradford Business School seems an excellent way to develop not only my own thinking but understand external business change factors and developments.
Communication is very important to us at Damart and we understand that ‘one size does not fit all’ ; so my intention will be to bring ideas back to the business for discussion and work with colleagues to see what could work for them, their teams and the business. The way the HR team works with the business is already very much as a ‘partner’ but it’s exciting to think we can work on more progressive ideas and apply these to the full employment life cycle covering all areas of people development.
Once, the skills for an HR person were seen as mostly around understanding and applying employment law. Whilst the role has expanded to look at employee culture and learning and development, most HR courses do not address the need to understand commerciality and the bigger picture of a business. Linda Montgomery, HR director at Damart (my Line Manager), outlined in her guest blog about the need for technical specialists to have a broader picture of the business as they progress to senior positions – and the role that the MBA can play.
I am delighted that Damart will be supporting me in my executive MBA starting in September; it’s a major investment for both Damart and me. I see this opportunity as being critical to my contributing more to the business, understanding not just the bigger picture but the commercial drivers and the role of HR in these.
Has it been a big decision to commit to the MBA? Yes! Of course there are the personal concerns of tying this in with an already busy schedule, the breadth of topics that we will be covering and to what level. However, I attended a Bradford preview evening – which I would recommend for anyone thinking about an MBA or to join an online event – because this answered all my questions and allayed my concerns.
Here were my personal concerns
1. What is the academic level of an MBA?
The capability we need for an MBA is to see the bigger picture enough to engage, question and challenge the experts – not to be a subject matter expert in everything
2. Can I cope with the breadth of MBA subjects?
I had not registered that an MBA is modular, so you only tackle one subject at a time. This will make it easier to compartmentalise.
3. How much time do you need for an executive MBA?
One of my biggest concerns was finding time to do the MBA. But Bradford said to aim for ten hours a week, which seems reasonable with some good planning!
It was good to know we will be placed in groups so we don’t have to do all this alone – I can see there will be lots of discussions which will be great. It’s also good to know that Damart are committed to supporting us in our MBA studies and will help us tap into expertise from around our businesses when needed for particular subject areas.
I am now looking at all this completely differently. It feels the right time and I can see how I will be developing from day one of doing the MBA and contributing more to Damart from the start.
Are you putting off doing an MBA? Have you done an MBA – do you relate to my previous concerns and any tips to share?