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Which Human Resource Management master’s degree course is right for me?

Thinking about studying for a master’s degree in human resource management at Alliance MBS, but not sure which programme is right for you? Programme Director, Dr Jenny Rodriguez, and MSc International HRM and Comparative Industrial Relations graduate, Rebecca-Anne Harrington, shared their insights during our Postgraduate Virtual Open Week.

What is the main difference between MSc HRM and Industrial Relations and MSc International HRM and Comparative Industrial Relations?

Jenny Rodriguez, Programme Director:

"The programmes primarily combine the knowledge in a way helps you to think strategically about managing people. Our MSc HRM and Industrial Relations course primarily focuses on what I would call the mainstream tradition. A lot of the theories in HRM have emerged within the field of HRM, and International HRM has emerged as others have started to do comparative work. I would say that that's the main distinction between the two programmes.

"Even though both adopt an international outlook, the idea is that our expertise as individual researchers has a lot to do with the things that are taught in the programmes. The programmes, in a way, want to help students who have different aims, not just those who are looking to go for jobs in the HRM field, but those who are looking also to pursue other avenues. It could be consultancy work, self-employment or academic work.

"I think it depends on what your prospects are in terms of career, but the distinction between the two is the orientation of using the knowledge of HRM and bringing the comparative element. That is what the MSc International HRM and Comparative Industrial Relations course does that I would argue the HRM does not do because it focuses specifically on the mainstream knowledge.”

Do I require a specific background?

Rebecca-Anne Harrington, MSc International HRM and Comparative Industrial Relations, Class of 2020:

"I studied for a BA in Politics as an undergrad and I knew very little about HR before starting the course. I wouldn't worry at all, I obviously didn't even come from a business or finance or economics background and I would say that there's a good split on the course. There are some people that come from business and finance backgrounds and there are some people that have completely different backgrounds and I wouldn't worry either way. It doesn't necessarily hugely benefit or disadvantage you it really depends what you want out of the course.”


"I would add that there's a lot of diversity in the student cohort because the students that we've had, for example in some cases, have a background in literature, […] we’ve had students who have a background in history, we've had students with the background more in physical sciences is so it is quite diverse as a cohort.

"I would say that the programme is quite interesting because it brings out the diversity and all sectors are different, there is not a one size fits all, so different experiences and different knowledge and skills that people bring from their disciplines are immensely helpful.”

Should I become a member of the CIPD?


"I did the CIPD, it is optional, it is something that I think a lot of people have a lot of questions about and my answer to that depends on what your career goals are. Even though I'm currently a Consultant, I still chose to do this, it offers so much more than just accreditation. So the CIPD as an organisation is obviously a membership body that also has things like events, a legal helpline if you need advice about anything, they have conferences and they do talks. So beyond just the learning on the CIPD which is incredibly useful […], I would say there's all the extra stuff that comes along with the CIPD and getting to be part of the CIPD, which is that you get a network of HR professionals or people allied to HR that you can kind of lean on.

"I took part in one of the CIPD's events over the summer and it allowed me to meet a lot of people in different fields to mine and build up like a kind of a network through that programme so I would say it really depends on your goals.”


“There's something also in relation to the CIPD that needs to be said. it's that the CIPD says at the minute that they're moving to have a more International Outreach […] that also means that if you're working with individuals who come from the UK and you're working, for example, for a subsidiary somewhere outside of the UK, you will find that they recognise the CIPD accreditation.

"I can verify this actually with someone that I know who was working in the Middle East and when that person got the job as an HR Manager, they were asked about the CIPD and whether she had the CIPD accreditation. So it's one of those things that, depending on which circle individuals are looking for work, the CIPD might be a good thing to have. Also, some of the skills, I would argue, that are developed as part of those sessions add an additional dimension to the experience of being a postgraduate student.”

Read more about the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) >>

Chat to a current MSc International Human Resource Management and Comparative Industrial Relations student >>

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