Farnaz Azari

Farnaz Azari gained an MA in Human Resource Management from Leeds University Business School. She now lives in London and is HR Manager for fashion brand Miss Selfridge. She explains how her relationship with Leeds has continued to support her career beyond graduation.

I really loved my year at Leeds, I remember feeling so much more involved here than where I did my Undergraduate degree. The learning was very diverse and thought provoking; we were taught to think about HR very broadly in different contexts.

Most memorable was the relationship I had with the lecturers and other students on the course. Studying a Masters is quite intense, with a lot of hours spent studying together, so I made some really strong bonds.

After my studies, I joined a HR graduate programme with the Arcadia group, a big fashion retailer who own lots of UK brands, such as Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge. As part of the 18-month programme I worked with the Miss Selfridge brand as a regional HR advisor.

I’ve been with Miss Selfridge for 5 years and am currently HR Manager at Head Office. I manage a team looking after about 170 employees, including buyers and designers. It’s a generalist role, involving everything from recruitment through to employee relations. I also work with senior management looking at our people strategy - I love it!

I’ve stayed in touch with lecturers at the Business School, and last year I was invited to join the Industry Advisory Board for the MA in Human Resource Management. The Board includes others working in HR in businesses, as well as Union members and employment lawyers; it’s an opportunity for us to inform course content and keep it relevant. With my experience, I know what skills students need when they enter the workplace - we talk a lot about these employability skills, and make sure the syllabus is relevant to the world of HR in practice. It’s great for me and my professional development, and it’s good to keep in touch with other businesses and industry experts and hear what they’re doing.

We say in our team at Miss Selfridge that it’s really important to be curious, to keep asking questions. That’s something I developed during my Masters course - a real curiosity for keeping up-to-date with best practice, keeping abreast with developments in HR and to keep developing myself.

I appreciate the relationship that I still have with the Business School. I felt really supported in my studies and beyond in developing my career – I can’t imagine you’d get that everywhere and I’m grateful for that.

I’ve taken so much from my year, I would advise anyone considering a Masters at Leeds to do it!