Country Of Origin: Pakistan
Degree: MA Human Resources and Consulting, 2017
Managing Director, Optimizhr
Why did you choose to study at LUMS?
Prior to joining the MA programme at Lancaster, I was working as an academic and an independent consultant developing, designing and delivering bespoke learning interventions for organisations such as Coca-Cola, Goethe Institut, Avery Dennison, State Bank of Pakistan, TPS, Pakistan-Arab Oil Refineries (PARCO) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited to name a few. I received a scholarship from the Department of Leadership and Management; a leading academic department in Europe with a strong international reputation devoted to improving how leaders and managers learn. Hence, a core motive to opt for the Masters in Human Resources and Consulting (MA HRC) programme was to gain an international reputation and initiate a global consultancy firm.
What was the best thing about your course?
Whilst studying the MA HRC, I began to understand that talent is currently the number one issue for CEOs around the world. The variety of modules during the program introduced me not only to the Design and Dynamics of Learning, Organisational Learning and Knowledge Management (OLKM), but also to understand the importance of Big Data and Analytics with the advances in leadership and strategic decision making. These modules coupled with the opportunity to consult for one of Europe’s largest aerospace manufacturer to improve their OLKM strategy. Furthermore, we were required to lead a three-month intense consulting project to evaluate and advice on the Performance Management System of a corporation during the Consulting and Organisational diagnosis module. Additionally, the MA HRC programme offered accreditation of CIPD Advance Level 7 Diploma in Human Resource Development.
Did you do a project? What did this involve and what did you gain?
The HRC programme culminates with a dissertation module. I was fortunate to be supervised by Dr. Anthony Hesketh (one of the Top 10 HR Thinkers in the UK) and had access to interview world-class practitioners and academics from the UK. I started by analysing the Human Capital Measurement (HCM) framework developed by Dr. Hesketh at the Department of Leadership and Management. A cross pollination of the finance, HR and management professions, i.e. Chartered Institute of Management and Accountants (CIMA), Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Charted Management Institute (CMI); the ‘Valuing your Talent’ framework explores the use of analytics to better understand the impact people have on organisational performance. My thesis formed an impact case study for this HCM Framework that enabled me to interview the top C-Level Executives in FTSE 100 and management consultancies that included the likes of Charles Tilley CEO – CIMA, Ann Francke, CEO – CMI, Peter Cheese CEO – CIPD and Paul Devoy CEO – Investors in People (IIP) to name a few. This process led me to articulate how this efficient and effective tool measures human capital capability and enables leaders to understand, gauge and propel their human capital - ‘the most expensive asset on the balance sheet.’ This process of intensive research eventually led me to unlock my research question, ‘Why HR Cannot Embrace HR Analytics’. Working alongside Dr. Hesketh during the research module proved to be one of the highlights of the programme.
What impact has your Lancaster experience had on your career?
After graduating with a distinction, I decided to stay in Lancaster and commercialise the skills and expertise that I had gained via the MA HRC programme. To accelerate my entrepreneur capabilities, I enrolled in the core entrepreneurial modules via the Department of Entrepreneurship, Strategy and Innovation that included courses on selling, networking, funding for entrepreneurial ventures, and product and service innovation. I also worked alongside the Enterprise Team at Lancaster University to develop and mature my business idea around setting up a Human Capital Consultancy. Concurrently, I was approached by Dr. Hesketh to work alongside a ‘People Analytics’ project that he had acquired via the IIP. This project formed the foundation for me to secure the prestigious Graduate Entrepreneur visa via Lancaster University. Additionally, I secured the European Union support via the U Start Project under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Graduate Entrepreneur visa therefore, entitles me access to work both as an independent practitioner and enabled me to establish a Human Capital Consultancy - Optimizhr.
Based in Lancaster, I now offer consulting and advisory services around HR/People analytics, talent strategy, management and leadership development. I have now collaborated with the local Chamber of Commerce and a host of SMEs to offer consulting and advisory services to enable performance optimisation. One of my recent achievements includes being featured in the People Management magazine for my blog ‘Are People Analytics key to improving productivity.’