Jamie Lyons | Middlesex University London
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Jamie Lyons

Jamie LyonsHR Manager UK & Ireland, Elizabeth Arden

BA Management, 2005; MA Human Resource Management, 2007

What made you choose Middlesex University?

I chose Middlesex University because the business school is renowned around the world. The University offered a wide range of generalist and specialist degrees which allowed me to select the subject modules I wanted to study. This helped to ensure I had the skills and knowledge I needed to develop my career and prepared me for future senior HR Management roles.

The Hendon campus was also easy to access, especially when travelling to and from work as it is located just outside of central London.

The study facilities, such as the library, provided online access to books and journals so I always had access to up-to-date research, enabling me to benchmark and develop ideas for use in my studies or for implementation at work.

What attracted you to your undergraduate course and made you apply?

When I was selecting a degree to study, I was not sure what area of management I wanted to specialise in so I chose a degree that would allow me to study different areas of Management and would give me insight into different areas. 

My degree provided me with the opportunity to study multiple disciplines of management such as: Marketing, Finance, HR, Operation/Strategic Management and business start up. The degree also allowed me to become a member of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), the leading professional body for management and leadership in the UK.

What aspects of your undergraduate course did you enjoy most?

I enjoyed the challenging assignments, working with great lecturers and using everything I learned back at work. Developing your knowledge and experience is not just about reading books! A major part is learning to work with people and understand how to work as a team to achieve an objective. 

I really enjoyed working with students from around the world as it allowed me to learn about different cultures. The international insights I gained as a result have been invaluable because international markets have grown and my experience at Middlesex has helped me to build relationships and to work with different HR teams around the world.

I also enjoyed the two external residentials as this gave me a chance to learn more about myself in terms of the way I work and my management style.

You went on to study a masters degree with Middlesex. What are the advantages of a masters degree and would you recommend it to others?

Studying a masters degree allowed me to develop my strategic HR management skills and this has led to me obtaining a senior HR management role. 

The HRM masters degree was accredited by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), the leading HR professional body. This meant that as soon as I completed my degree I was able to upgrade my membership to become a Chartered member of the CIPD. This is invaluable because when employers are recruiting for senior HR roles, they require you to be a Chartered Member of the CIPD. 

I studied my Masters part time while working full time, so this allowed me to combine work with my professional study and progress my career. I would recommend to students considering studying a masters degree to do so as it will help you develop your knowledge and skills, which in turn helps with promotions and career progression. 

What is your fondest memory of life at Middlesex?

My fondest memory is meeting and working with lots of great students and lecturers. I still keep in contact with most of them as your learning never stops and is always ongoing.

What one piece of advice would you give to a prospective student interested in studying at Middlesex?

"Try and identify the job you would like to obtain once you have completed your degree.  This will help you to focus on what you need to study to achieve this."

How did your time at Middlesex help you to get where you are professionally today?

"My time at Middlesex has helped me learn about myself and reflect on the areas that I needed to develop to improve myself, which has allowed me to progress my career."

What made you choose the industry you work in and what are its pros and cons?

I have worked across several industries and each industry has its own pros and cons. 

The industries I have enjoyed working in the most are those where I have been their customers and used their products and services.  Being able to relate to a product or service is important because it helps you to develop a passion, which in turn drives your desire to succeed.

How did you get your foot on the career ladder post university?

The 12 month work placement I undertook as part of my Management degree was what enabled me to get my foot on the career ladder.

What has been your defining career break or highlight to date?

Working for a global company and being responsible for managing the HR Function for their UK and Ireland Business. This role is business critical as its key in increasing EBITDA (a measurement of company profit).

What does the future hold for you?

The future is definitely bright. My next career step would be to become a Head of HR.

What are the top three career tips you would give to current students and recent graduates?

Firstly, obtain as much work experience as you can. Even a part time job while you are studying will help push you to the front of the queue when you start applying for your first job. 

Once you have established the profession you would like to work in, start to network with people from this profession before you finish your studies. Having contacts will help increase the chances of you finding work.

Finally, don't hide your personality and ensure you communicate your interests and hobbies as this will give employers an insight into you as a person.

What one piece of advice would you give to the 17/18 year old you?

Be yourself and don't be afraid to take a risk. Nothing in life stays the same, but what you will learn at Middlesex University will help prepare you for everything life has to throw at you. Keep moving forward and never look back.

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