The Hertfordshire MBA has been developed with input from employers and collaborative partners across a wide range of different industry sectors, to ensure that the content is both cutting edge and relevant to the needs of business today.
Read more about what our current students have been up to most recently:
What is the future of air travel?
The Hertfordshire MBA starts international consultancy project with the University of West Georgia (USA) and IBM
Our MBA participants are currently undertaking an international collaborative consultancy project for IBM to explore the future of air travel. This is part of our well established International Collaborative Partnership Programme (ICPP) where MBA students team up with other MBAs and businesses from around the world.
The Hertfordshire MBAs are working in a collaborative and cross-cultural team with MBA participants from the University of West Georgia in the US to identify future trends, opportunities and challenges in the air travel industry. This consultancy project seeks to provide new knowledge and business opportunities as part of IBM's Smarter Planet platform.
During the next couple of months, the collaborative consultancy team will conduct extensive research in the UK and US to assess and evaluate how technology can further assist to enhance the experience of air travel. In May 2014, the University of West Georgia MBA team will travel to the University of Hertfordshire to finalise the collaborative project and prepare the final presentation to senior managers at IBM UK. This will provide the team with an opportunity to demonstrate their innovative solutions and forecast the trends for future air travel.
In January 2014, 4 Hertfordshire MBA participants travelled to the University of West Georgia and spent five days working with their collaborating partners, conducting market visits, collecting primary data and devising a comprehensive project plan. The project was facilitated by Rikke Duus, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at University of Hertfordshire and Professor Dr Doug Turner, Associate Dean at University of West Georgia.
The Hertfordshire MBA team: Usman Sheikh, Omar Bitar, Rajan Pattni, Alex Chrusciak, Eddie Hanson
The University of West Georgia Team: Kres Betsill, Jonathan Burke, Monique McBride, Winniefred Nabawanda, Nutayi Toyon
The team's first task was to understand the stakeholders within the air travel industry, the barriers, opportunities and potential for embedding technology to enhance the consumer journey. To facilitate this learning, the team visited Hartsfield Jackson International Airport in Atlanta - one of the busiest airports in the South East of the US. The team were met and briefed for more than two hours by Miguel Southwell, Managing Director (picture), Sharon D. Jones, Assistant General Manager IT Operations, amongst other senior staff.
The team gained extensive insight into the issues and challenges of airport management, as well as an understanding of how technology is embedded throughout the air travel experience to ensure an optimised consumer journey. The Atlanta airport senior executives showed great interest in the team's project and the future findings derived from the research.
The collaborative consultancy project aims to add value to the client partner, IBM, as well as other associated businesses. Mutual value addition is at the heart of the Hertfordshire MBA.
The travel agents are an integral part of the air travel network of stakeholders. The team met with two associates from West GA Travel to gain their perspectives on the future of air travel and the role of the travel agent in the consumer journey.
During the five-day visit, the UK and US teams had the opportunity to start their project work. Many discussions took place to map out the sector, key players, existing use of technology and how future technology may shape air travel. The team worked towards a collaborative project plan and sector overview that will facilitate the project's progress over the next couple of months.
The Hertfordshire team also visited CNN – one of the world's leading news providers in Atlanta. The team were shown the process it uses to deliver news as it happens.
These visits provide the Hertfordshire MBAs with a unique experience, where they get the opportunity to not only work with other similar professionals in the US but also to build new networks across the continents. We are also fortunate to work with a leading organisation such as IBM who have supported our MBA for the last four years.
The Hertfordshire MBA Visits Mlesna Tea in Sri Lanka
Our MBA participants are currently undertaking a research-based consultancy project with Mlesna Tea Ceylon Ltd as part of the International Collaborative Partnership Programme (ICPP) on the Hertfordshire MBA. This year, the ICPP facilitates our MBA students to gain international exposure in Sri Lanka, Canada and the USA.
Mlesna, founded by Mr Anselm Perera in 1983, is one of the leading premium tea exporters in Sri Lanka. The company has thrived despite the market uncertainties and fierce competition. Mlesna's portfolio consists of around 3,500 tea varieties and gift teas. The company exports to 40+ markets and their key markets include Russia, Australia, Canada, Japan, Europe and the Middle East.
During the next three months, the Hertfordshire MBA team, supervised by Muditha Cooray Director of MBA programmes, will be evaluating Mlesna's strategic opportunities for market entry to the UK. The research will include extensive market and consumer audits, capability analysis and financial forecasting.
During the visit to Sri Lanka, the team visited Mlesna's premium outlets, the Tea Fortress and the Tea Castle. Mr Birendra Perera, Mlesna Tea Director, briefed the team about the business philosophy, export and operations strategy.
The Hertfordshire MBA team:
Sarah Elliot, Kelly Hockley, Marta Sierpek, Toby Stoddard and Dhillum Alacon
The Mlesna Tea Castle is an iconic and exclusive structure and regarded as the world's largest tearoom. It is situated amongst the tea plantations in Thalawakelle, Sri Lanka.
The architecture of the Tea Castle is inspired by Scottish castles and reflects Mlesna's brand ethos of rigorous quality, consistent flavour and attention to detail.
The team visited several of Mlesna's tea shops to gather knowledge of the retail concept, the extensive product range and tea flavours. Throughout the five-day visit, the MBA participants discussed Mlesna's product portfolio, the award-winning packaging and design concepts with the Tea Director who shared insightful industry information.
Mlesna's strength lies in their exclusive tea blends and the MBA participants were fortunate to experience a tea tasting master class at Mlesna's head office in Colombo. Tea tasting and blending is an art that requires several years of training. The team of tea tasters at Mlesna demonstrated how their expertise is central to managing a portfolio of 3,500 tea varieties and meeting international taste palates.
The Hertfordshire team visited the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce where the weekly tea auctions take place. The atmosphere resembles that of a busy stock exchange where some of the world's best teas are sold by the tea plantations.
The MBAs witnessed the complexity of bidding for the correct type of teas, the price competitiveness and the challenges of meeting international client requirements. Such experiential learning differentiates the Hertfordshire MBA and allows participants to understand complex market structures and develop viable strategic initiatives for client partners.
The visit also provided a great opportunity for the MBAs to experience local culture and the natural beauty of Sri Lanka. Amongst other excursions, the participants visited the elephant orphanage in Pinnawala on route to Kandy.
The ICPP initiative helps to put concepts such as teamwork into practice and allows the MBA participants to develop relationships that will assist them throughout their business careers.