28 February 2019

In this blog, I am going to introduce the Programme Director of IHRM and HRM, Dr Thomas (Tom) Calvard. Tom, who has a Doctorate in Organisational Psychology and is also a lecturer in HRM, speaks about the initial days of the programme and how it has grown to what it is today; his take on the relevance of international HRM in today’s world; and shares a small message for the students who wish to join the programme next year.
Masters in international Human Resource Management students at the University of Edinburgh Business School

Can you tell us why the programme is relevant to future HR professionals?

The Masters in International HRM programme was the result of a team effort about 5 years ago. It was created with the aim of developing an understanding of real world HR issues, with a focus on areas like globalisation, multinational enterprises, expatriation, cross-cultural differences and so on.

Bearing in mind the global scenario and market, it was considered as the need of the hour. Even though the programme overlaps with HRM at times, its emphasis is on developing new thinking, opportunities and practices in effective global HR management. IHRM bridges the gap between the HR policies and practices of different countries, and provides a common platform to all those looking forward to a career in global enterprises. The programme helps students to gain cross-cultural skills by involving them in international case studies and group discussions.

In what ways is HR evolving?

HR looks completely different in different parts of the world, which is why multinationals look for individuals with evolving skill sets who can address issues like global inequality, diversity and cross-cultural differences. With emerging economies, HR will continue to see a change of laws and policies in both developed and developing countries. Even small businesses today require international HR managers, because they are continuously growing and expanding or recruiting employees from abroad.

How are the alumni community involved with students?

The HR programme has built its own alumni community over the years. It is a diverse group with people coming from different countries and cultures, working all around the globe in different domains of HR. LinkedIn is one of the major platforms that has kept me connected with this alumni base. In fact, every year an ‘Alumni Meet’ is organised where previous students come to interact with the current students and help them resolve queries, if they have any. Many previous students come back and supervise dissertations, or even give career talks which are highly relevant because they have the experience of being on both sides of the table.

What employment options are open to students on the programme?

Students who have previously been on this course have moved into a diverse set of jobs. Some of them have stayed on in the UK to work; but most of them have moved to other countries or are back in their home countries. There are a number of ways of getting into a job right after the programme ends. This can be through Company Sponsored Dissertations, where students work on their dissertations in association with a company, and sometimes this can lead to full-time employment opportunities. Another way to get a job is to get into a graduate programme or an internship, which later converts to a full-time job. Although these opportunities are highly competitive, there are a number of companies that offer them.

What other support do students receive on the programme?

The programme is what it is because of a lot of other factors. Student Development Team activities, the PG Office and CIPD form core components of the programme. The Student Development Team supports the personal and professional development of students from the first week. They conduct sessions on CV and cover letter writing, mock interviews, online assessments, etc. Similarly, the PG office ensures that students have access to relevant facilities and resources on and off campus. CIPD, being an external body, has a huge role to play. First of all, the accreditation from the body enhances the employability value of the course and secondly, they conduct events regularly that help students to gain information and network.

What would you like to say to students joining next year?

To students joining us next year, I would say reach out to our staff, support teams and alumni community as soon as possible and as much as you can to build strong connections here with us at Edinburgh and beyond. Also don't be shy about your own passions and motivations for coming to study here; we welcome the diversity our students bring every year, and you are a key part of the future of the programme and shaping what IHRM can and should be in the 21st century.

The ideas you discuss on our courses, the tools you put into practice in projects and assessments, the professional networks you establish, and the contributions of your dissertation—we want you to have a special year that you can look back on and be proud of.

Vinisha Prakash, MSc IHRM interviewing Tom Calvard, Programme Director of the MSc HRM and the MSc IHRM