August 2021

Full steam ahead for master’s students as new product proposals accepted for Vintage Trains

By Darren Campbell

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Postgraduate students from University College Birmingham are on track to make their mark in industry after successfully pitching new products to a heritage rail tour operator.

Students on the University's aviation, hospitality and tourism master's courses have been working with Vintage Trains during the last semester as part of their International Live Project Management module.

To boost their industry engagement and project management experience, they were tasked with proposing new or extended products for a new diverse market based on the company's current portfolio, creating concepts ranging from cultural events and culinary experiences to escape room activities and technological enhancements for consumers.

"My board has been really impressed with many of the ideas and suggestions we have received for improving our ongoing customer experience"

Michael Whitehouse Chairman of Vintage Trains

Fifteen of the students were then invited by Vintage Trains on the firm's inaugural rail trip of the summer following the easing of Covid restrictions. Meeting at Birmingham's Moor Street Station, the group enjoyed a ride on the vintage diesel-hauled Shakespeare Express to Stratford-upon-Avon – complete with refreshments and a box meal – before reaching their destination where they listened to an address from Vintage Trains chairman Michael Whitehouse.

And best of all, 11 of the 15 proposals made by the students were accepted by Vintage Trains as potential products for their 2021/22 season, with the students invited to work alongside the company in their development.

'Excellent collaboration'

Joining the group on the trip were Professor Michelle Callanan and International Live Project Management module leader Helen Joyner-Harris, who congratulated the students on their achievements.

"The student cohort excelled themselves as budding project managers within their diverse proposals," she said. "What an excellent opportunity both for Vintage Trains to attract master's students' insights and for our students to gain practical industry experience beyond the confines of academic convention while still studying.

"This excellent collaboration has resulted in tangible benefits for Vintage Trains, our client, the student cohort and University College Birmingham."

Vintage Trains chairman Michael Whitehouse said: "It's been a fantastic experience to work with Michelle, Helen and all the students – my board has been really impressed with many of the ideas and suggestions we have received for improving our ongoing customer experience.

"We are passionate about preserving railway heritage but we are equally keen to move with the times by providing a high level of service to all our customers."

As an added bonus, five of the group were also awarded free student membership of the Institute of Directors (IoD) for their proposal contributions, sponsored by former IoD director-general Dr John Phillips.

University College Birmingham is committed to providing students on our courses with real-world experience and invaluable engagement with the industries in which they aspire to work following their studies.

Discover our full range of undergraduate, postgraduate and college courses within our Department of Hospitality and Tourism.

Our budding project managers

Tia Ghai – International Hospitality Management MSc
Julio Romero – Aviation Management MSc
Leon Ling – Aviation Management MSc
Azman Razali – Aviation Management MSc
Jennifer Holman – International Tourism Management MSc
Daniel Harvey – Aviation Management MSc
Paulina Czerkowska – Aviation Management MSc
Elio Guerra Fernandez – International Tourism Management MSc

Klaudia Czerkowska – Aviation Management MSc
Yasser Hussain – Aviation Management MSc
Corentin Aucagne – International Hospitality Management MSc
Tereza Kroupova – Aviation Management MSc
Clara Descours – International Hospitality Management MSc
Ines Catarina Dos Santos Figueiredo – International Tourism Management MSc
Antonio Misurac – International Tourism Management MSc

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