Suzanne completed her MBA in Business Management with Hospitality (renamed MSc International Management & Leadership since 2020) at QMU during which time she opted to do a Business Consultancy in Practice project instead of a traditional dissertation. Her client was a well known hotel chain with hotels in Edinburgh, where she now works.
Tell us a bit more about your BCiP project...
My client was a well-known hotel in Edinburgh, for whom I investigated whether there was a correlation between the room rate (average daily rate, ADR) paid by guests and their additional spend on Food and Beverage (F&B) during their stay.
The hotel wanted to find out if high room rates attracted guests with a higher budget for F&B (and willingness to spend) or if high room rates in fact reduced guests’ budget to spend on F&B. The results of my analysis would help shape their long-term pricing strategies.
My project took 5 months altogether.
Your experience working on the project
What were your biggest highlights whilst working on the project?
I got the opportunity to work on my project on-site (pre-pandemic) and therefore get a feel for the day-to-day activity within the department I worked for which confirmed my decision to start my career in this area. After completing my project I got offered a position at the hotel, which was the start of my career in Revenue Management.
What challenges did you encounter?
As the hotel was part of a large, international chain, getting access to the relevant systems to extract raw data proved to be very difficult and time consuming.
I needed access to highly confidential data but because I wasn’t an employee, it was challenging for the hotel to obtain clearance from head office. This meant that a week into the project, it was uncertain whether I could even execute it. I had to adjust my project schedule significantly and think of alternative ways to complete the analyses in case I never got the systems access. Ultimately, I got the access I needed and managed to deliver the results on time.
What do you feel you learned most from this project personally and professionally?
The process of building a relationship with an organisation and pitching a project like a consultant was an excellent learning opportunity. It required thinking from the stakeholders’ point of view and confidently explaining the benefit of my project to their business, even though I knew very little about the company. This has been an invaluable skill in my career so far.
It was also great to see how valuable my skill set was to the company; it can be difficult as a student to appreciate what you can bring to an organisation and working on this project gave me more confidence in my abilities.
What support did you have on the project?
I had extensive support from QMU on the project. The programme leaders were very encouraging and supportive, especially at the exploration stage when coming up with project ideas and potential companies can be a bit daunting. The informal atmosphere at the university also made it easy to reach out to tutors with specific areas of expertise and discuss my project plans with them. During the proposal and execution phases I was assigned a tutor to whom I could reach out for specific questions or feedback. I also had very good support from the hotel itself; the department I did my project for was very helpful and responsive.
Did completing the BCiP help you decide on a your career path?
Before I started the course, I already knew the direction I wanted to go into and the project helped solidify that decision and even landed me a job offer.
What advice would you share with anyone thinking about applying for this PG course?
This course is very flexible in that you get many opportunities to choose what industry or issue you want to focus on within the different modules. So if you have a specific area of interest or career path in mind you can really tailor this course to expand your knowledge in that direction. With this in mind, there is a strong focus on initiative and self-direction so you need to be prepared to take control of your own learning. I personally found I got a lot out of this course because I put a lot into it.
"I had extensive support from QMU on the project. The programme leaders were very encouraging and supportive, especially at the exploration stage when coming up with project ideas and potential companies can be a bit daunting."
[Published July 2021]