Maria Strid | Middlesex University London
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Maria Strid

Maria StridGlobal Reward Project Leader HSBC, New York

BA Human Resource Management, 2001

How useful was your BA in HRM?

The most useful aspect of the course was the combination of academia and a year in industry, as it introduced me to the HR profession and what it looks like in practice. Being back on campus in the fourth year with a year’s work experience to draw upon was also very helpful.

My placement year was spent in the HR department at Arup and I was fortunate to work with some great people and get involved in interesting HR projects, which made me want to pursue a career in HR.

What is your fondest memory or most memorable experience of your time at the Middlesex’s Business School?

That’s a tricky one! The first reflective moment that now seems significant but didn’t at the time, was the fun rapport I built with one of the ladies in the placement office. One day when I showed up to see what the latest listings for placements were (I was being picky and didn’t want to apply for just any role, so I visited a lot!) – she jokingly said “ah there you are - I think I saw a placement opportunity that would suit you Miss – it’s at an engineering consulting firm called Arup”. Well, the rest is history.

The Reward lectures are definitely a fond memory too as they made me realise that I enjoyed the topic - and they were delivered with a great sense of humour!

You now lead global reward projects for HSBC. In layman’s terms, what does the job consist of? And what are your biggest challenges?

HSBC is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world, with employees across Europe, Asia-Pacific, Americas, Middle East and Africa. This makes my job both incredibly interesting and challenging all at the same time.

If I describe HR/Reward as a service or provider of a product, then my job is about designing and delivering a global service or product with enough local sensitivity so that it resonates when it lands in each country.

What’s delivered has to take into account cultural difference, regulatory requirements and micro and macro needs of the business. Equally navigating the organisational matrix to make sure all relevant stakeholders are and feel engaged at the right time is crucial to ensuring successful outcomes.

Following the financial crisis, the Reward landscape, requirements and focus changed significantly in financial services. In many ways it placed Reward in the centre of a lot of change and organisational culture initiatives – as well as regulatory requirements.

You continue to help in CIPD activities. Why do you do this?

I see it as a great way to support the HR profession. The CIPD is the “go to” source for many HR practitioners. If I can help by being a sounding board, support with insight to current business issues, or help shape and influence the discussion to Government consultations the CIPD is involved with – that’s all good stuff. I also find it interesting and personally rewarding and it gives me insight to a variety of industries, the public sector, different size businesses and issues, which all make me look at things from different perspectives.

Finally, if you had one piece of advice for our BA and MA HRM students what would it be?

Be open to change and to opportunities that you may not have originally planned for. Follow your interests and passions. That will make it easier for you to excel in what you do.

I’d also add that the theory of something will never quiet prepare you for what it’s like in practice. So take the opportunity to combine the two as much as possible. A part time-job whilst studying is a practical experience no matter what it may be.

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