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Melanie Cheung

Career Path: HR Officer, Parker Hannifin Ltd.
Location: Birtley, UK

I originally came from a retail sales and management background. This was something I fell into part-time, whilst studying for my undergraduate degree in BA (Hons) International Business Studies at Northumbria University. Following completion of my undergraduate degree, instead of pursuing a career in retail/business management as intended, I decided to have a career change and embarked on a part-time postgraduate diploma in Human Resources Management (one of the core subjects I enjoyed from studying a BA (Hons) International Business Studies).

The course provided me with the vital 'foot-in-the-door' opportunity I needed to make the career change into Human Resource Management and Development. Most recently I completed a Masters degree in Human Resource Management and Development to assist with a company-based research project where I currently work. I was also fortunate to receive great support from my current employer.

Where are you doing now?

I am an HR Officer for Parker Hannifin overseeing multiple manufacturing sites for Process Domnick Hunter Division to support the HR and business strategy. This is a fast-paced role which involves supporting operational needs, as well as a number of ongoing continuous HR improvement projects linked to the business strategy, such as absence management, performance management, employee retention, employee engagement, succession planning and organisational change.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/ give your career an edge?

The excellent guidance of University staff and the subjects I studied on the course provided me with valuable knowledge, support and insight into the HR profession.  In addition, the course allowed me to gain graduate CIPD membership.  I am now currently pursuing chartered CIPD status and am involved with CIPD North East branch activities to help further my career.  Ultimately the course allowed me to put HR theory into practice and provided me with new and exciting career opportunities within HR.  The course supported my ability to transfer my skills, knowledge and experience gained from a retail background to financial services and, currently, within manufacturing.

What was the best thing about your course?

The course allowed me to achieve my goal of pursuing a career in HR management and development.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

My course tutor inspired me the most by providing me with excellent support and guidance whilst undertaking my dissertation/company-based research.  The course allowed me to network with other more experienced HR professionals who also inspired me with their ongoing career progression within different industries.

Which skills/ knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now in your career?

The course allowed me to develop good organisational skills to meet tight deadlines and develop ongoing valuable knowledge of HR theory and practice with an emphasis on critique.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole learning experience shared with other friendly students/ HR professionals on the course and approachable Northumbria University staff.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

I returned to Northumbria University to complete a postgraduate diploma and MBA for a number of reasons: great studying environment, supportive and approachable staff, great results and overall great experience.  My most recent studying experience at Northumbria University made me discover that you can achieve the career you want and have great results! Newcastle is also a great city and people in the North East are very friendly!

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in three words?

Inspiring, rewarding and memorable!

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