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Where will human resource management and industrial relations lead you?

14 August 2018
HR students share how postgrad study has enhanced their careers
If you want to begin or further your career in human resource management, industrial relations or a related area, our Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations is the specialist qualification you need.

The human resource industry has experienced considerable growth over the past decade. Now more than ever it is key for HR professionals to have an understanding of key employment issues and an enhanced skillset, in order to respond to rapid industry changes in Australia and abroad.

We asked our students how the Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations equipped them with the skills to respond to the changes reshaping local and international work practices and policies.

Taking new perspectives home

Headshot of Pham Thi Chung

Pham Thi Chung

Centre for Industrial Relations Development, Department of Industrial Relations and Wage, Ministry of Labour – Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam
Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, 2018

Pham Thi Chung entered a career in industrial relations at the Centre for Industrial Relations Development in 2011 when mitigating industrial disputes was one of the top priorities in Vietnam. After six years at the Centre, she was awarded an Australia Awards scholarship which enabled her to pursue postgraduate study in Sydney.

She chose our Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations to further upskill and develop a deeper understanding of industrial relations in Australia and around the world. The degree has provided her with important knowledge about various industrial relations systems as well as theoretical human resource management frameworks that she can implement in her career as an industrial relations practitioner and a young manager.

My time in Sydney has broadened my perspective on the world and provided me with an excellent foundation for my work.
Pham Thi Chung

Making a difference in people’s lives

Headshot of Andrew Milwain

Andrew Milwain
Group Workplace Relations Partner, Woolworths Group Limited
Current Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations student

Andrew Milwain is a Human Resources Professional (CAHRI) with over 15 years of experience. His career spans a diverse range of sectors including retail, supply chain, aviation, mining and construction. Today he balances family, part-time study and full-time work as Group Workplace Relations Partner at Woolworths Group Limited.

He was drawn to our Master of Human Resources and Industrial Relations as the course offered a mix of human resource management and industrial relations subjects and was recommended by his peers.

Widening his knowledge of theoretical topics, partnered with the chance to learn from leading academics, is key to understanding the real-world application and challenges of these frameworks he says.

As a HR practitioner every day presents new challenges. Whether that is assisting business partners drive organisational culture change, leading negotiations with the unions, or championing a diversity project, it’s all exciting!
Andrew Milwain

Progressing in new landscapes

Headshot of Louise Maxwell

Louise Maxwell
HR Business Partner, PetSure
Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, 2017

After working in human resources for 10 years, Louise Maxwell moved to Sydney from the UK, where her career took a sideways step while she learned about the Australian industrial relations system and settled into her new home.

She embarked on postgraduate study at the Business School after deciding that an educational foundation was what she needed to take the next step in her career. The face-to-face teaching style with expert lecturers and opportunity to grow her business network was what drew Louise to study at Sydney.

“Through the industrial relations and employment law units in my degree, I gained a great grounding in the historical and theoretical landscape of Australian industrial relations, and how to manage human resources in this context.”

Louise is now a HR Business Partner at Australia’s leading pet insurance provider, her dream role (next to ‘Disney Imagineer’), where she partners with functional business units to provide strategic HR advice and support.

My master’s degree really set me apart as a candidate who was serious about HR, with the knowledge to back up the skills I had gained in my previous roles.
Louise Maxwell

Mastering a love of learning

Mark Nicholas Smolonogov has never taken a traditional approach to his education or career. After vowing to never step foot into an educational institution again, following what he describes as a “spectacular failure” in high school, Mark now holds three degrees from the University of Sydney.

After school he worked in a number of temporary roles before landing a job within government human resource management for most of his 15-year career. This is what lead Mark to the Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations.

“With no background in higher education, all I had was passion, determination and most importantly, an opinion on HRM processes and practices developed throughout my work experience.”

Mark has recently completed his third master’s degree and is ready to take on new opportunities to develop his career. He says one thing that drives him is thinking about how he can add value to, enhance the potentials of and leave a lasting impression on individuals and organisations.

The people I’ve met and studied alongside, the supportive staff, and the quality of education I received at the University will remain with me forever.

Advocating for the talent for others

Headshot of Raja Alsaffar

Raja Alsaffar
Human Resources Business Partner Lead, Novartis
Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations, 2015

Raja Alsaffar was born and raised in Saudi Arabia. She completed undergraduate studies in health sciences at the University of Sydney, and later decided to add to her skillset with a Master of Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations.

"The program was unique because it enabled me to integrate theoretical studies into the practical experience. This has supported me to outstand in strategic thinking, drive the HR agenda in organisations, to be pro-active with the constant changes in the emerging market and the contemporary style of various talents."

Her career has taken her back home, where she worked in a variety of roles with GE Healthcare, including leading the education and training development for GE Saudi Arabia, followed by a role with Johnson & Johnson where she drove the HR strategy for the global company in the region. She is currently the senior HR Business Partner lead for Novartis, the multinational pharmaceutical company in Saudi Arabia.

Raja says her proudest accomplishments include the opportunity to advocate for the talent of others and support those individuals in their career and leadership journeys.

Studying at Sydney University has reflected the meaning of 'learning with joy' as I truly enjoyed the interactive assignments with the group of students and the teaching staff who were full of various expertise and backgrounds.
Raja Alsaffar

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