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Jamie Lyons

HR Consultant & Interim Management Specialist, CobraHR Ltd

Industry: Multi-Sector (FMCG, Retail, Cosmetics, Housing & Financial Services)

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 leadership roles.

The Hendon campus was also conveniently located just outside of central London, giving easy access to work whilst I was studying.

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. I chose a degree that would allow me to study different specialist areas of Management to enable me to discover the specialisms that I enjoyed the most and would focus on to start my management career.

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 courses did you enjoy most?

I enjoyed the challenging assignments, working with great lecturers and applying everything I had learned back at work. I also enjoyed learning more about my own management style and the way I worked with other people. As a result of this, I feel I have the necessary skills to work as part of a team and to help people reach their full potential.

I really enjoyed working with students from around the world as it allowed me to learn more about different cultures. The international insights I gained as a result have been invaluable in my later career in building successful relationships with different HR teams around the world.

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 and leadership skills, which have underpinned my career progression to date. This has led to me obtain several senior HR leadership roles, and it has allowed me to set up my own HR Company.

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 as employers require this membership when they are recruiting for senior HR roles.

I studied my Masters part time whilst working full time. This allowed me to combine work with my professional studies to enable me to progress my HR career. I would recommend studying a masters degree as this provides a solid platform to help develop your knowledge and skills, which will be a key factor to help you progress your HR career.

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?

Pick a degree [subject area] that you are really passionate about. This will enable you to have a progressive and rewarding career, instead of ‘just a job’.

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

My time at Middlesex transformed me into an adaptable HR professional ready to thrive in an ever-changing world.

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 the service and/or product provided by the organisation has made a positive impact to people’s lives.

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?

Attaining the role of HR Director (UK) for Revlon, a global cosmetics company. I was a member of the UK leadership team and my role was to lead the HR function and to support the Company to achieve its mega growth plans.

What does the future hold for you?

The next chapter in my career is to provide interim management and HR consultancy services to organisations, whilst continuing to grow my Company.

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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