Lucy was a direct entrant to QMU, joining the BA (Hons) International Hospitality and Tourism as a 3rd year student in 2018. She then went to work for Apex Hotels in Edinburgh via the Norman Springford scholarship programme and started her MSc International Management and Leadership in September 2020.

Via contacts she nurtured at Apex Hotels and by networking throughout her work experience, Lucy was able to secure a national tourism board as her client for her Business Consultancy in Practice project (BCiP).

Your Project Brief:

Tell us a bit more about your BCiP project...

My client is a national tourism board. Following the pandemic, as the country slowly moves out of lockdown, the organization is looking to switch to a long-term hybrid working model for its employees.

My project is to research and propose recommendations for the HR team on how to best support employees with this move, look at what processes and actions managers and leaders could implement, what resources are available or required, etc.

How did you identify and secure your client for this project?

During my time working at Apex Hotels I took part in a pitch task as part of the scholarship programme, where I had to present the team with a revenue building plan. My work on this got me shortlisted for Young Women in Tourism student of the Year and it was at this event that I met the HR Manager from a national tourism board. I took her card and made sure to remain in touch with her.

When it came time to reach out to clients proactively for my BCiP project as part of my MSc, the tourism board I had met with was my first choice and I immediately reached out.

What did your project involve?

My project involved a lot of research and setting up individual interviews and focus groups with different managers and members of staff at Visit Scotland to understand their needs and current workplace situation.
Since May this year, I have interviewed team members from Health and Safety, Learning and Development, the Diversity and Equality specialist, HR team members and more. It’s opened my eyes to different roles and the various workplace dynamics and areas of a business which I hadn’t considered before.
I also took part in a focus group with a pool of the HR team, looking at what they’ve had to do this past year to adapt to remote working and the pandemic and what they are planning for the coming year(s).
I had to do a lot of background research as well, then add the information from my focus groups and interviews. Now I find myself working backwards reviewing all my learnings to see what new things I might have to add.

Your experience of the project

What were your biggest highlights whilst working on the project?

The entire experience generally was a highlight because I’ve never done any of this sort of thing before. Even before the pandemic, coming as a direct entrant from college it was just so key for me to do a practical project in a real work environment.

It’s been great for building my confidence and having to manage things over a screen and zoom which is also weird and a bit intense, on top of it being a professional work environment as opposed to my usual university environment.

The project really opened my eyes to other people’s experiences (of the pandemic) and different ways of living as workers and employees was so interesting as before that I was only really used to student life.

What were the main challenges of the project?

I think trying to find the motivation to work on the project during the second lockdown and then everything easing. As my friends were starting to go out and things were opening up I was trying to complete the project, and it had been such a tense time. I found it hard trying to get into a routine and be self-disciplined.

The whole lockdown situation sometimes felt like day to day life wasn’t, because there were no weekly classes or organized face to face time between students.

I also was working part-time whilst studying to fund my studies. This caused some stress because I never knew if we might go into lockdown again or I might be furloughed, etc, which created a lot of uncertainty.

What have you learned most from doing this project (personally and professionally)?

A big learning for me was how to network and make connections, as well as to find out about employment opportunities. I’ve also started to use LinkedIN to build up my professional profile.

My planning skills have improved since doing the project, there were so many more people to be responsible to than with a straight dissertation and I had to juggle multiple responsibilities, so time management and planning were really important for me to stay on top of tasks.

Has this project helped you decide on a future career path?

I want to stay in tourism and I’m very interested in data analytics and trends. I’m keen on promoting Scotland and getting involved with tourism long term. 

I’d be interested in looking at how we can use data to tourism businesses plan for the future, I’m also interested in how this can support marketing campaigns, etc.

What advice would you share with anyone thinking about doing a BCiP project?

I would 100% recommend doing the project work. I’ve met great people on my course and it’s been great sharing what other people are doing for their project and being able to connect over that experience. Doing the BCiP is a real step up from undergraduate study. You really learn independence and gain a lot of life experience, you also get a hefty dose of invaluable workplace experience which is excellent for your C.V.

Be prepared to have your eyes opened and learn about lots of different ways of living and working.

"I would 100% recommend doing a BCiP project. It's a real step up from undergraduate study. You really learn independence and gain a lot of life experience, you also get a hefty dose of invaluable workplace experience which is excellent for your C.V."
Lucy Patrick

Story published July 2021