Country of origin: China
Area Manager, A.S. Watson Group
The degree which Zhiyu studied, BSc Operations Management, is no longer available. It has been superseded by BSc Business Analytics and Consultancy.
With a strong interest in business, I started my university life at Lancaster University majoring in Business Studies. I chose the Management School at Lancaster because of its strong reputation, flexible course structure and attractive campus environment.
The course design in the first year enabled me to try modules in different areas, and Introduction to Operations Management was one of the modules I took. From my second year, I decided to concentrate on this area, so I changed my degree to BSc Operations Management because it provided a great platform for me to learn about how to effectively manage changes and risk in modern organisations. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The programme helped me to enhance my skills in project management, statistical model building, negotiation, problem-solving and presentation. The lecturers were helpful and supportive. I was really impressed that in many modules the case studies we did were actually from their recent research projects or company projects.
After finishing my BSc, I stayed on at LUMS to do the MSc in Operational Research in the same department. At the time I wanted to become a business consultant and I found this course ideally suited to my needs. During the year I added to my analytical skills and consultancy skills, and I also did a summer placement with British Telecom which enabled me to apply my skills to solve problems in real business. The experience was cherished and unforgettable.
Applying operational skills
After finishing my MSc in 2008, I joined Tesco as a management trainee. After seven months’ working experience in the UK, I returned to China and worked as a business analyst in the Site Research Department of Tesco China in Shanghai. My role was to review, maintain and develop statistical models, for example for sales forecasting, competition impact measurement, seasonalities, etc. I was also involved in developing a spatial Geography Information System to support site assessment and ClubCard related analysis to improve trade zone analysis. The sales forecasts and data-based analysis I provided were used to facilitate confident site investment decisions.
In April 2012, I moved back to my home city of Shenzhen and joined the A.S. Watson Group as an Area Manager. My key responsibility will be to lead the store management teams in order to maximise sales and profit and achieve set targets. My role also includes providing leadership, coaching and discipline to ensure the highest standards of customer service, store presentation, inventory management and store administration are achieved within designated area of stores. Over the years, I have already applied many skills from my Operations Management course to support my daily tasks and projects, and I am sure I will continue to do so. It is really useful!