American Express

AMEXMelanie Lepine is Director, Global Learning and Development Delivery for American Express, specialising in Learning and Development. She has 15 years of international HR experience but has never studied for a degree.

Whilst her career as an HR professional was on an upward trajectory, she realised that she needed more formal qualifications, both as recognition of her knowledge and experience; and as a route to further career progression.

Here she explains what led her to take an Advanced CIPD Diploma with the Watson Martin Partnership, and why she hasn’t looked back since.

When I joined American Express I realised that my future career progression, especially to director level, would depend on me having a specific post graduate qualification. The Advanced CIPD Diploma was ideal in that it offered a post graduate, masters level qualification covering key areas of HR, corporate and organisational strategy. However, with a busy job, involving long hours and travelling, I knew I would struggle to find the time to study, and needed to find the right kind of provider.”

“Watson Martin Partnership was able to provide just the kind of flexibility I needed. I worked with my adviser, via a mix of online and face to face meetings, to a schedule that was structured, but not oppressive. There was enough urgency and encouragement to complete the work without feeling pressure, which is ideal when studying alongside a full time job. Approximately 70% of the course was spent on compiling evidence from my experience, with the other 30% on self-study and reading. The exam preparation workshops were especially interesting, and gave me the chance to meet professionals from other industries and the public sector.”

Completing the qualification was hard work, but very rewarding. Having the discipline and body of knowledge behind me has helped me to support proposals and solutions with the kind of case studies and research needed to get senior level and operational buy-in. The CIPD website is rich in survey data, white papers, articles and research, and is a real benefit of being a student member. On top of that, I still use the course textbooks quite a bit!”

“I’ve been lucky in having an incredibly supportive employer. My goal now is to broaden my horizons by connecting with more people outside my immediate network. The Watson Martin Partnership LinkedIn group is very useful for this. It provides a forum in which candidates and alumni can ask questions, share ideas and gauge opinion about current trends, legislation and articles, or just stay in touch. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and it may well prove to be the first step to something bigger”

Melanie Lepine, American Express

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