Just imagine a learning which is confined to the four walls of the lecture hall or constrained to the pages of reference books and articles! Learning is much more – its about experiencing the unseen, unheard, unperceived or re-experiencing those from a new perspective. As Albert Einstein rightly puts it "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." This to a great extent has been the essence of my experience so far in Manchester – where I have come to "educate" myself. Life has been much more than being immersed in countless academic journals or textbooks or preparing for assignments / presentations or sitting through the weekly lecture hours. Its been about developing new bonds, new skills at the same time enhancing the practical industrial knowledge. Workshops, competitions and conferences have to a great extent been instrumental in shaping the all-round learning process.
It struck me that all this while I have not written about one of the additional qualifications which I am working towards along with my MSc degree – and that's CIPD. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is a professional association for human resource management professionals. We are working towards achieving a level 7 CIPD qualification and post completion of our MSc and submission of the CIPD portfolio and a management report, we would become Associate Members of the CIPD community. The CIPD learning process is through weekly workshop sessions. These workshop sessions are different from the conventional lecture-style ones as it involves learning through practically doing stuff – be it interviews, presentations, role playing, debating. It is a fresh break from the academically oriented education which we receive for other modules as it focuses more on providing industry specific knowledge and learning. The role-playing sessions are particularly useful as it presents us with the opportunity of stepping into the shoes of HR Managers and reacting or resolving issues which we potentially might have to face in our career as HR practitioners; thereby providing a good preparation for our career ahead.
This month we had the CIPD Debating day addressing the issue of the Triple Bottom Line – planet, people and profit. Industry practitioners provided us with their perspective of how businesses can manage their practices in order to achieve sustainable development. This was followed by 3 debates by the students each focusing on one aspect of the Triple Bottom Line. It was a great experience for all students as it helped us to enhance and develop our communication and debating skills. The month concluded with us attending the CIPD Annual Students Conference at Liverpool which again was a great experience as it provided us with a great opportunity of networking and learning a lot from the industry experts' sessions and talks there.
Academic knowledge without doubt goes a long way in providing a strong foundation on which we build our lives; but it's also the things which we "learn" outside the conventional lecture hours is what makes us stand out and ultimately "makes the difference".