Putting the HRM into MBA

Alex Martin
31 January 2014

Alex MartinAlex Martin is writing a series of blogs for Supply Management about studying part-time for an MBA. You can find his previous entries here.

A new year and a new MBA module: Human resource management (HRM). HRM was the first full, proper module with an exam in 2014. But as we students are (supposed to be) writing their theses, we will not receive assignments for the duration of the programme, all remaining modules will be graded based on exams only.

Our professor this month was Michael Dickmann, professor of international HRM and dean at Cranfield University’s School of Management. Michael has been working with the EIPM delivering HRM for more than 12 years now.

As I have said about many other modules, this was a fascinating subject that I was only familiar with when being recruited or during my annual appraisals. Until now I had no academic understanding of HRM. We covered many aspects from the HR flow to cross-cultural working and HRM structures and strategies [the Ulrich three box model] to leadership and international mobility. The most interesting topics were change management, intelligent career coaching with the intelligent career card sort and HRM in merger and acquisition activity.

Also of great interest was the class being divided into two groups to play a change management game, designed by professor Dickmann. This was a great experience to see change management theory applied and work.

For most of the evenings during the week we stayed late on campus. Some worked their day jobs - checking emails. Some read the following day’s content. And others worked on their thesis. On Wednesday evening we gathered together for dinner at a local Indian restaurant with students from the new batch (2014-2015). It was interesting contrasting their views as new MBA students compared to mine and my colleagues’ who are now one year in – it made for good dinner conversation. During the week we also had an honorary lecture including workshops from Heinrich Berger, head of procurement direct spend at Clariant.

The intense week drew to a close on Friday afternoon leaving us to revise for our two-hour exam on Saturday morning.

My regular, monthly routine was then the long drive back to Germany Saturday early afternoon. As they say in Germany ‘Bis zum nächsten Mal’ (until next time!).

☛ Alex Martin is IT business service principal consultant at SAP. He welcomes comments and LinkedIn connections

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