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THORPE PARK Business Engagement with Royal Holloway MBAs

Posted on 20/02/2012

Colossus Ride, Thorpe Park

In November, THORPE PARK’s Head of Development Chris Edge hosted a behind-the-scenes amusement park visit for the Royal Holloway MBA student group. The half-day site tour and detailed organisational brief helped students bring to life many of the concepts they were studying as part of their demanding general management masters degree programme.  THORPE PARK is one of the brands owned and operated by Merlin Entertainment Group, which also boasts other leading entertainment brands such as: LEGOLAND, Madame Tussaud’s, London Dungeons, the EDF Energy London Eye and SEA LIFE Centres. 

The Park was closed for its annual, rigorous, winter maintenance process, unique access which allowed for many very interesting industry insights concentrated on the design, operation and marketing of the wide range of thrilling roller coaster rides available at THORPE PARK. Visiting the new ride, THE SWARM, which was nearing completion, generated discussion of the infrastructure versus branding trade offs and consideration of the important environmental issues presented by THORPE PARK’s unique site.

In February, six student groups presented their recommendations to THORPE PARK management representatives and Dr. Romano Dyerson, Director of Graduate Studies having considered three challenging real questions that had emerged out of the Merlin Entertainment Group business planning process. MBA candidate Olutosin Bakare said “It was an excellent opportunity to practise our presentation skills, building from our personal development lectures. The presence of industry senior management listening to our ideas was very motivational.”

The chance to make recommendations to three real, current business challenges was highly stimulating for the MBA group, clearly demonstrated by the buzz around the play back presentations. There was a great deal of enjoyment and much prized learning that came out of this trial co-operation. Chris Chedzey, Education Facilitator, who co-ordinated the interaction said “We greatly valued the experience, the chance to interact with bright, young minds was genuinely useful and shining a spotlight on aspects of our business has identified a number of opportunities.”

Syed Qulib Abbas, MBA student, said “It was a golden chance to practically use what we have been learning. The theoretical learning from Royal Holloway blended with the practical experience of our professional life really jelled well together.”

MBA Director Justin O’Brien was particularly delighted that the presentations generated a number of plausible ideas for further discussion with THORPE PARK management and that some of the student recommendations were quite close to the emerging organisational thinking. Justin concluded “The invitation for two of the groups to repeat the presentation to other THORPE PARK managers was the icing on the cake.”

Nitasha Gupta, MBA candidate, said “This exercise was a brilliant opportunity to put some of the theories we learnt in the MBA into practice.  Ansoff's matrix, BCG boxes, SWOT & PEST analysis, 5 Forces Model, Revenue Management, Corporate Social Responsibility…. we had it all in our tool box and we did not shy away.”

In recognition of some very stimulating recommendations the entire student cohort were invited back to visit the park in operation to experience the thrilling range of rides first-hand.  

Thinking about applying for an MBA? Read more.


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