Country of origin: United Kingdom
Management Consultant, Accenture Digital
Before joining the MSc in E-Business and Innovation (EBIN) programme I completed a BSc in Business Studies at Lancaster University Management School. During this first degree I predominantly enjoyed learning about the impact that technology had on business, in particular the implementation of large and complex information systems. As a result of this, and the desire to increase my employability in a very competitive graduate recruitment market, it was a very easy decision to apply for the MSc in E-Business and Innovation.
The EBIN programme appealed to me because, firstly, it was a chance to increase my knowledge of both business and technical subject areas. I also liked the thought of subject modules that taught original business principles, but from an e-commerce perspective, such as e-marketing and e-supply chain management.
Secondly, the chance to continuously work in small project groups with students from different countries, cultures and backgrounds would give rise to some very beneficial, and interesting, learning outcomes.
Finally, the organisation-based project, where I worked in a small group conducting projects in a consultancy capacity for external companies, was a huge draw.
The twelve-week organisation-based project I conducted was for a multinational company, Premier Farnell plc, and was based around their desire to create a non-transactional website that created an information and knowledge-based community for their customers, that embraced Web 2.0 practices such as social networking and user-generated content. After completing the Premier Farnell project with two EBIN colleagues, we presented our findings to two of the key directors at the company and I received a phone call shortly afterwards, inviting me to attend an interview.
My current role is fundamentally based in Premier Farnell’s recently-established Innovation Lab in central London. The aim of this new initiative is to match current and future technological capabilities with the needs and requirements of our customers.
Initially, the projects we work on will be based around functionalities that can be introduced on our transactional websites, but we see future projects involving more physical innovations and ‘gadgets’ that we feel may be of benefit to our two million-plus customer base. These ideas will then be developed and prototyped within the Innovation Lab before being piloted on our 40-plus live websites.
I started work by spending three months at Premier Farnell’s Leeds offices, working with the project teams tasked with implementing two new software systems: a web-analytics reporting suite and a Customer Experience Management solution. During this time the project management and systems analysis proficiencies I developed on the EBIN course proved invaluable.
Over the next two years I will complete other three-month placements in Chicago (working with the US Sales and Finance teams) and in Singapore (working with the APAC Supply Chain and Logistics department), where I am certain the skills and tools I developed during my time at Lancaster will again be extremely useful, both in terms of theory and practice.
Chris later joined BSkyB, and then moved on to become a management consultant for Accenture Digital.