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Julia Santamaria

Julia Santamaria Profile Picture

Mexico
SMD Graduate 2014-2015

 

"A powerful learning experience"  


Julia Santamaria 1“After I completed my BSc in Industrial Engineering in Mexico in 2010, I considered going on to study for a master’s degree. I wasn’t really sure what direction I wanted my career to take at the time though, so I decided it was best to gain some work experience first. By 2014 I was a Planning Operations Leader for Hewlett Packard, managing supply and demand planning for a range of high-end products.

By now I had developed a strong interest in service management and, as an emerging field, I could see that it offered exciting career opportunities. I needed to develop a far deeper knowledge of the area, so the time felt right to move on to MSc study. It made sense to take a full-time programme so I could totally immerse myself in the subject.

At the same time, I liked the idea of exploring a new culture so I decided to study in Europe, but few courses offered the strong focus on service management that I wanted. That was when I came across WMG’s programme. Everything about it looked right, though I wasn’t aware of the university’s reputation until a friend, who had studied for a PhD there, told me about its global standing.

Julia Santamaria 2Always someone there to help

When I arrived at Warwick, I thought it was an amazing place! The campus is beautiful – spacious and green with lots of trees and quiet places. I loved the fact that everything you need is there on campus and within walking distance. The orientation week was extremely useful as it gave me the chance to visit the facilities and find my way around even before the course began. Also, there are lots of activities for new students and everyone is friendly. If you have a question or you’re unsure about anything, there is always someone there to help.

Everyone was very friendly on the course too. There were 21 students from across the world and we all got on well, which created a nice atmosphere. Out tutor was also very supportive and helped to generate a strong group dynamic. The teachers were excellent throughout, and on each module we had guest speakers from industry who brought a valuable insight into how service development is evolving in the real world. They talked to us about how they resolved issues and we were able to ask questions and learn from their experience.

Julia Santamaria 3Gaining a well-rounded picture

The combination of modules was stimulating and gave me a well-rounded picture of how service management and development works in today’s business world. What’s unusual is that there are no exams at the end of each module. Instead, we would have a number of weeks to produce a post-module assignment. This gave me the opportunity to research the subject thoroughly, explore different aspects of it and think it through fully. I found this a much more powerful learning experience that simply soaking up facts and then repeating them in an examination.

For my dissertation subject, I considered employees’ experiences as they interface with customers. Although there are tools to map the customer journey, there isn’t a tool to map the employee journey. I felt this would be an important area to explore; after all, a company’s employees deliver its customer service – and the quality of that service is in their hands. So by understanding employee experiences, businesses would be better placed to improve their customer experience. I was delighted to be awarded a distinction for my work.

Valuable and rewarding

I left WMG in 2015 and travelled with friends before returning to Mexico and then back to the UK, where I worked on a temporary basis within the University of Warwick. My plan is to continue my research with a PhD programme, where I will look at applying my employee experience model using augmented reality. It will be very exciting to put this emerging technology to work in the field of service development and I’m currently considering three offers.

One great thing about Warwick is the opportunity it gives you to get involved in a range of activities outside of your studies. As a WMG Ambassador, I had the chance to meet people from many different countries and help them get the best from their time at the university. I also worked with a variety of organisations involved with children with serious illnesses and disadvantages. That was not only hugely rewarding but a valuable experience too. It kept everything in perspective and made me reflect on how I see the world and my own priorities in life.”