My postgraduate study: Zara Gleasure (International Management, Trinity College Dublin)
“In an increasingly competitive job market, having a Master’s degree provides a significant career advantage.”
Primary Degree: Business Economics and Social Studies (TCD)
Postgrad Degree: International Management MSc. (TCD)
What convinced you to further your studies and why did you choose the course in TCD?
In an increasingly competitive job market, having a Master’s degree provides a significant career advantage, as employers recognise and value the dedication and commitment involved in taking your education to Masters level. The International Management (IM) course offered a great mix of core learning modules, team building and of course the opportunity to partake in an International Residency Week in a very highly regarded Chinese University. It offered me the opportunity to challenge myself academically, but also more importantly to develop my soft skills and intercultural learning.
How does postgraduate study differ from undergraduate and was one of the biggest challenges you faced?
Postgraduate study tends to be far more intensive then undergraduate; it was a full-time commitment for 11 months of the year. In contrast to my undergraduate degree, there was a huge focus on collaborative effort. I think that is so important, as the work dynamics are increasingly team centric nowadays, and the nature of these teams is frequently cross-functional and cross-cultural. group tasks such as business simulation modules also allowed me to develop strong bonds with my classmates. I really needed to work on developing my cross-cultural skill base in order to socialise and work effectively with my international classmates, and also to have the best experience on the residency week in China. Being immersed in groups made up of individuals from cultures so vastly different from my own and studying abroad has taught me resilience, the ability to think on my feet, and to navigate the unfamiliar.
How do you think your postgraduate study will add to your employability skills?
The emphasis on soft skill development has greatly improved my professional confidence. From an academic standpoint this programme offered so much in terms of practical knowledge, and the mix of academic and industry professional speakers was central to this. Moreover, many company visits provided great insights and networking opportunities.
What are your ambitions over the next few years in developing your HR career?
I believe the business impact of HR will become increasingly important in the coming years, particularly in the area of strategy development. Companies are coming to recognize that by hiring the most suitable talent they can concentrate on growing the business instead of dealing with problem employees. The Pareto Principle would suggest that 20% of the employees take 80% of your time, and that 20% of your employees do 80% of the effectual work. Identifying the employees that induce enthusiasm and engagement for a company’s mission is becoming a most pivotal competitive advantage. This is relevant to staff across all levels, and it’s true that employees don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad bosses. Being able to think critically, abstractly and innovatively to align the various interests in such a way to most constructively engage talent will be the central driver of business success. I hope to focus on the strategic side of HR and to help firms achieve a real tangible impact in this way.