BCI: is it worth joining?

The Business Continuity Institute is a membership organisation.  It bills itself as ”the world’s most eminent BCM institute… instantly recognised as standing for good practice and professionalism.”  It has over 6,000 members in around 100 countries.


Benefits of Membership

The BCI suggests there are three reasons to join: recognition and status, networking and knowledge, and career progression.

Networking and knowledge is covered in a few ways.  First, BCI members get access to a private part of the BCI website and can ‘view the Institute’s published work‘.   They also get discounts on “a range of products and services including training courses, conferences and seminars, books and professional indemnity Insurance“.  There’s a magazine – though anyone can read this online - and local forum groups.

The ‘career progression’ benefit is apparently delivered by a mentoring scheme and a business continuity jobs board. Consultants can also register their services with the BCI Consultancy.

If this is enough for you to part with around $185/£125 (at time of writing – Winter 2011) then you’ll want to know how to join.


How to Join

In times past, the way to join was via an application supported by robust references and eduction or work experience in the field.  However, for those who don’t already hold a MBCP, CBCP or ABCP qualification, the BSI introduced an exam instead.

In theory, this sounds like a good thing to maintain the integrity of the organisation, right?

I’ve spoken with some of those who’ve taken the exam, and this is where this article gets a little more interesting!   Apparently the exam is as much a feat of deciphering the questions as it is about issues relating to business continuity.  This strikes us as a little sad.  Of course, the BCI could change this, and as they are in the process of overhauling their website to something far more attractive – we’ve seen the preview! – let’s hope they do so soon!


Should you join?

Having considered what, it has to be said, is just one opinion on BCI membership, should you join?

Here’s where I must confess that as an in-house business continuity professional of ten years standing, I haven’t yet been able to justify the cost of joining.  However, I can understand why people do if their companies offer to pay for professional memberships, and I can also understand how it may be beneficial to freelancers or consultants.

So, if you’re working in-house, I might think about it like this:

  • As a business continuity professional, is it a good thing to have BCI membership listed on your CV?
  • Conversely, is it a bad thing for you if you don’t have it on your CV?

The truth is, I’m undecided.

On the one hand I can definitely see the simple advantage of being able to say you’re a member when you apply for new positions.On the other, a simple sentence noting that the benefits of membership aren’t cost effective (if that’s the case for you) might appeal greatly in these times of austerity!


What have you got from the BCI that would persuade others to join?  Or, have you made a decision not to join, if so, why?  If you’ve any thoughts, do respond below.

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