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Martin Ou


PPM Student 2016-17


“I learned more than I ever expected to”

“After gaining my first degree in Business Management, I worked in sales and marketing before joining the investment banking division of a major wealth management company in China. That was in 2015, and it soon became clear that I needed to develop my project and programme management skills if I was to progress there. My employer was particularly keen for me to build my knowledge of up-to-date tools and techniques, so they asked me look into relevant courses and let me take a year away to study.

I had studied for my bachelors degree in the UK and I really enjoyed my time there, so I was keen to return. When I researched courses, WMG’s looked interesting right away. I liked the way that it takes a holistic view of the subject, bringing in a range of themes including managing people resources, organisational change and financial analysis.

When I looked into the modules, I could see that each one would be useful in its own right, and that they all combine to build a broad overview of programme management. A teacher I knew had been to Warwick and told me many good things and about the location, learning and lifestyle there, so WMG was my first choice.

Focused on understanding the material

The course itself has been extremely enjoyable. The week’s intensive learning for each module can be quite challenging, but then you have three weeks to work on a post-module assignment, which gives you a chance to carry out further research and thoroughly absorb what you learned during the intensive week. Unlike conventional teaching styles, this structure is focused on understanding the material, rather than simply memorising it. That for me is the biggest positive of the course.

Everything here is geared to helping you develop that understanding. The lecturers share their personal experience in industry, which brings each subject to life and makes it relevant to the workplace. The group work and simulations were also excellent and through these, I learned more at WMG than I ever expected to.

For example, in the Management of Change module we worked in small groups, with each group ‘running a business’ and each member taking a role within it. The lecturer acted as our customer and constantly introduced new and unexpected challenges. The whole thing was intense and difficult at times, with changes happening quickly. This really pushed us and forced us out of our comfort zones, and looking back it’s extremely interesting to think about the way I reacted to issues and worked through them. I must admit I did panic once or twice!

Building key skills

I learned a lot about myself through these simulations – and about how to apply the concepts in real situations. They mirror the whole business process very accurately and taught us how to work together to meet objectives. As a group, we all agreed how valuable they were in helping us build a range of key skills like communication, teamworking, negotiation and presentation. Above all though, they helped me understand how the things we were learning can be used to improve the way a company operates.

When I finish my course I’ll be travelling back to China to rejoin my employer. I can already see how I will be able to apply so much of what I’ve learned at WMG to the business straight away. I know that I now have the ability to make a positive impact by putting the latest programme and project management processes to work. More than that though, the skills I have developed will help me further my career, not just in the short term, but for the rest of my working life.”