Project Management students embark on world record challenge

Student trying to break a record

01 February 2016

Could you break a world record? That was the challenge put before a class of postgraduate students last term.

The students on the Project Management MSc were divided into teams and challenged to break a record as part of an exercise to allow them to practise their newly-acquired skills.

Freya Zhang’s group decided to attempt three different world records: How many tennis balls can you hold in one hand?; How many coins can you stack in 30 seconds?; and How many sticky notes can you stick to your face in one minute?

The team set these challenges before their fellow students in an event at the University Sports Centre on November 20th.

Freya said: “We came up with a strategy. Instead of breaking a world record ourselves, we organised an event to allow more people to join in. We managed the risk of not being able to break a world record.”

Meanwhile, another group decided to attempt the record themselves. Moe Kuo’s team set out to break the record for the most sticky notes stuck on their faces in 60 seconds. The world record is 60. They put in a bold effort but sadly missed out, managing 38 sticky notes in the same amount of time.

"I think it’s quite weird for us to mix entertaining things with academic ones,"said Moe.

A third group set themselves the challenge of keeping five balloons in the air for as long as possible – a record they felt would be “entertaining” for clients.

The team’s result of 10-12 seconds fell short of the world record, one minute 20 seconds. However, team member Alice Wang explains that the experience was, nonetheless, useful.

"We were applying the Project Management techniques to this project. I saw it was a warm up to our term two project." The class’s next project will be with West End Impact, a charity based in Morecambe.

The world record attempts were more than just an excuse to have fun.

Moe, who came from a chemistry background and has previously worked as a project engineer back in Taiwan, said: “We are all inexperienced with Project Management tools. This is an easy way to get us familiar with them. Next term we have to work with real clients. I think this was a really good chance for us to practise.”

So far, Freya, Moe and Alice have all found the MSc Project Management course to be different to what they have been used to previously.

Freya, who studied English Literature at home in China, said: "I found it’s quite practical. The other classes that I studied were more just going to lectures. I want to learn about practical things. The UK Masters course is very intensive; It’s one year. It is a top ten university. It’s prestigious."

She added: "I wanted to challenge myself. Project Management is a promising field in China."

For Freya, one of the most exciting things about studying at LUMS has been the international environment.

"People from different cultures think from different perspectives," she said.

"They come with very different ideas. Take my group; when we first got together, it wasn’t easy to communicate with each other. But, I think we developed our own culture for the group. It’s a great chance for me to know more about international people."

Alice, who studied Literature back in Taiwan and also studied some graphics software, is hoping that the knowledge she gains through her course will help her with her future projects.

"I really like the way the professors teach. They refresh our minds," she added.

"For me, the most interesting thing is that we have three ways to graduate from the Masters."

This is a reference to the fact that students on the MSc Project Management course can complete either a traditional research dissertation, a summer in-company project, or a placement project which they find themselves.

"I think it’s a pretty good thing," said Alice.

"That’s very different from other Project Management courses. Our courses are very practical. I think we are the best."


Watch the videos Freya's group, Moe's group and Alice's group made about their projects on Youtube.