Country of origin: United Kingdom
Planning Manager, Lloyds TSB
My last summer placement as an Operations Executive in a service company made me decide to do an MSc in OR. I was keen to learn and practise operational analytical tools and techniques and hence wanted to choose the best university that offered a good mix of theoretical and practical content.
I chose Lancaster University Management School for its MSc in Operational Research because it:
- provided just the right balance of theoretical and practical content on the course
- had excellent links with industry and provided opportunities for doing live projects during and at the end of the course
- had consistently achieved the top ratings for research and was well regarded among other business schools in the UK
- had great facilities, a multicultural environment, and very friendly people
I was not disappointed.
Usually Lancaster's Management Science department arranges summer projects for MSc in OR students, using their extensive links with different companies. However, I was particularly interested in doing a project with a bank. The University fully supported me in my quest and arranged a project with Lloyds TSB. On my project I designed a flexible resource planning tool. The project was so successful that Lloyds TSB offered me a position on their Graduate Trainee programme for Operations.
In two years as a management trainee, I worked from three different locations and in six different areas of the business, from pure operations to more strategic roles. I used queueing theory to conduct a customer footfall analysis and designed more optimal and flexible shift patterns for branches. I participated in a group-wide Euro End of Transition planning process covering Lloyds TSB's branch network. I used different analytical techniques to analyse customer behaviours using our different payment vehicles. I implemented a comprehensive Management Information pack for the business, which was based on a Balanced Scorecard concept and showed a true reflection of all aspects of the business.
In September 2002, I secured a permanent position in the bank as Planning Manager, managing a third party supplier. My role included forecasting the bank’s note and coin requirement, managing day-to-day coin operations, conducting root cause analysis and managing several process improvement activities.
Studying in Lancaster was certainly hard work, yet a very enjoyable experience. I feel that I gained a lot of value from the course. I can’t believe how many times I have referred back to my class notes in order to solve problems. The teaching and support staff were very helpful throughout the year – and even after I had left the University. I made some wonderful friends while staying in the Graduate College and am in regular contact with them. Surprisingly I even learned a few words of Greek, like ‘ela re malaka’!