Jennifer

Graduating the Graduate Program

 18 months, 6 placements, 6 fresh-faced graduate trainees, one incredible journey!

With placement locations spanning the globe, high-profile projects reporting into senior management and relocating and taking on new projects every 3 months, the TUI Specialist & Activity Sector Graduate Leadership Program has been quite a journey! To mark the end of the 2011-2013 graduate intake, we have put together a video montage using a selection of photos taken over the course of our graduate program. Though this can only begin to document both the exhilarating, and often surreal highs, alongside the arduous, self-questioning challenges of the graduate program, we hope you will enjoy this snippet of our TUI journey so far… And now as we move into new roles within the company (and wave a teary goodbye to Laura) we thank you for your support over the past 18 months and for the opportunities the TUI SAS Graduate Leadership Program has given us. 

 

You can access our Graduate Program Video Montage here!

 

2011-2013 TUI SAS Graduate Intake

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Jen’s been having a Ball!

Jennifer gives us the low-down on schmoozing with pop stars and living it up in Florida

The Wanted

The Wanted perform at the iExplore Ball

It has been a while since I lasted blogged and a lot has happened over the last few months. To catch everyone up, my last placement was based in London working on a charity event, The iExplore Ball. This was a charity ball, hosted by iExplore, in support of the charity Street Child World Cup. This is an international charity which works to raise awareness and promote the plight of street children around the world through the medium of football.

The Ball included fantastic performances from The Wanted, Escala and Go West. I was involved in all aspects of organizing and promoting the Ball, implementing a ticketing system, organizing staff for the event and working closely with suppliers, designers and the production team to ensure that everything went perfectly on the night. It turned out to be a fantastic event, raising £70,000 on the night and everyone had a brilliant time. I even got to meet The Wanted.

Luxury Yacht

I spend most of my time these days riding around in Luxury Yachts.

After all of that excitement I am now on my next placement working with TUI Marine which is based in Clearwater, Florida. Here I am working on the customer user experience for the new Le Boat website. As I have never worked in an ecommerce role before it is something really different and exciting, though trying to communicate across three different time zones can create some difficulties. I am currently working on creating audit templates, analyzing data to create a new search function and supporting the UX design for the new website. In addition to this I am also developing a business plan for a new luxury yacht charter business for TUI Marine and have even had the opportunity to go onboard one of these $5m yachts!!!

This really is a fantastic opportunity to learn how the Marine industry operates and I have been making the most of my time here through attending meetings across different functions of the business and getting involved everything that I can.

Of course living in sunny Florida has some advantages and I am making the most of my time here sunbathing, swimming, hang gliding, tubing, going to cookouts for Memorial Day, it’s tough trying to fit everything in!

As I write this I realize what fantastic opportunities I have had on this program so far. At times it has been challenging, and moving every three months does present some difficulties, however I can say without doubt that it has definitely been worth it!

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Bowling and Bonding

TUI Graduate Scheme Bowling Trip

TUI Grads Go Bowling!

Jen talks about the recent grad night out…

What better way to bond with our fellow TUI Grads than to head out for a night of bowling! We were a mix of International, Specialist, UK and Ireland Grads (as well as one imposter who came along for the fun!). It was fantastic to get to meet more people on different schemes across TUI and to hear about the placements they have had in the past, the projects they have been involved in and the experiences and knowledge they have acquired over their time with TUI.

There seem to be so many possibilities on all of our different schemes that it can be overwhelming! As a Specialist and Activity Grad I am generally focused on my Sector and the division and brands within it. The opportunity to meet other grads and hear about the diverse areas of the business which they have become involved in really highlighted to me the vast range of products which TUI offers its customers! It is fantastic to be involved in a company which is continuously expanding and diversifying its product range.

I digress, anyway back to bowling…

After a lovely dinner and a few drinks the night really began as we headed towards the Lanes! As someone who has not thrown a bowling ball since I was young enough to have to have the lane bumpers in place, I was a bit apprehensive that I would end up being the weak link (I just about escaped that fate, sorry Laura)! The night became pretty competitive towards the end and discussions over which team actually was the winner are still continuing, with neither team wanting to admit defeat and some questionable financial calculations being used in an attempt to claim victory!

I think everyone will agree that the night was a great success. Thanks to Ben and everyone else who helped to organise such a fantastic night! I have a feeling that many more grad socials will be to come very soon…

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TUI Grad Team Features in Sports Day Write Up

Our very own Team Shaky Face features on the TUI Sports Day write up…

JCA have today posted their summary of the TUI Sports Weekend’s events on TUI intranet Discover.

For those of you who have access to Discover, you can view the full story on the Specialist & Activity news feed, otherwise take a look at the story below:

TUI Sports Day 2011

TUI Sports Day 2011

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One Night in Brighton…

TUI Grads in Brighton

TUI Grads in Brighton

Laura talks about her first trip to Brighton…

Yesterday, I left the Real Gap office and made the hour long journey down to Brighton to visit the TUI PPC team and also meet up with the other grads to discuss our project.

Throughout my placement so far, I’ve really tried to take as many opportunities as possible to learn more about the business as a whole, so visiting Brighton was a key goal of mine. With the TUI SEO and PPC teams based down there, and with those teams running the online campaigns for Real Gap and i to i, I really wanted to understand how this process worked and how the teams aligned themselves and communicated to work in the most efficient way.

I had a really useful meeting with Jo Bradbury who told me about the PPC strategy and also introduced me to AdInsight, which I’ll blog about more in the future (it’s incredible!), and will be keeping in touch with her to further my knowledge. PPC is such an important part of many budgets so understanding how it works, along with how the team works, is key.

I particularly like that Jo and her team are understood as an agency who are also a part of TUI – what a fantastic opportunity for brands to have expert guidance and the high level of service whilst being confident that the team working for them understands their brand completely.

I spent the rest of the afternoon with Kelly, Jen and Ben (with Ben and Deborah dialled in from the States) listening to a presentation from Janet on their graduate project, which was incredibly useful and, in fact, essential to the success of our graduate project, which we’ll be completing over the next 18 months.

Finally, we went out for dinner at Comos, Brighton, where we enjoyed a lovely meal and enjoyed the ever-developing entertainment form that is Ben’s ‘mo’. We even developed an idea to keep the mo for future months… keep watching for more details!

It was a really useful day and, aside from anything else, really interesting to see the office Kelly works in and meet more of the team from around the Sector.

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TUI Sports Weekend at Condover Hall

TUI Sports Weekend Grad Team

TUI Sports Weekend Grad Team

Laura, Kelly and Jennifer tell all about their weekend with JCA…

Laura

This week, Jen, Kelly and I headed north to Shrewsbury to spend the weekend at JCA’s activity centre Condover Hall.

The weekend was a fantastic opportunity to get to know more about the activity centre and to experience it from a customer’s point of view. It was also a good chance for us to get together and show the other teams that the grads are a force to be reckoned with!

From the moment we arrived, we were in awe of the beauty of the location and the warmth of the welcome we received. The hall itself is a spectacular Grade 1 listed Elizabethan mansion and the multi-million pound investment by TUI has turned it into a true playground for the adventurous; we knew we were in for a good time!

Saturday saw us take part in various school sports style activities – including a giant sack race, an egg and spoon race and an apple bobbing competition where the water dip was followed by immersion of our faces in flour to retrieve a sweet (not one for the faint hearted!). In the afternoon, we took part in various activities, the most notable of which were the terrifying Gladiator Wall and the intricate indoor tunnelling (which was challenging even for those who didn’t suffer from claustrophobia). Special mention has to go to Jen for completing the tunnel challenge despite her fear and gaining us some valuable points.

In all, the weekend was a fantastic experience. The staff at Condover Hall are extremely passionate about their jobs and maintain a level of energy and enthusiasm throughout the day that the rest of us could only dream of! It is their personality and warmth which really made the weekend for me and I learned the incredibly valuable lesson that the staff who actually deliver the product are hugely important in how a product is perceived. I hope to carry that lesson with me throughout my career with TUI and would love to undertake a more operational role in one of my placements.

I’ll definitely be back next year!

Kelly

“Great team building” was a phrase that I heard several times at the TUI Sports weekend and it’s absolutely true. The event was all about team building- be it chatting in the car on the 4 hour journey, applying our pink face paint, competing in the races, or singing karaoke in the evening. We worked together, motivated each other and shared funny moments… It really was an unforgettable weekend.

My favourite race was the giant sack race. With all of your group in one giant plastic sack, you aint going nowhere if you don’t work as a team. I’m proud to say we started the day well, crossing the finish line way ahead of everyone else in this first race!  “One, two, three, jump! One, two, three, jump!”

I had a great time with Jen and Laura, the other graduates of ‘Global Rocket’ who I’d mostly met before (they came third, well done!) and also enjoyed meeting other TUI colleagues from all over. We were particularly impressed with the efforts of ‘The Undutchables’ who came all the way from Rotterdam (and one from Belgium)…

Look forward to seeing you there next year. In the meantime, watch this space for our TUI Sports Day video!

Jennifer

When I began this Graduate Program I expected to learn a lot of things; to develop my business acumen, to enhance my understanding of financial accounts and to learn more about how TUI Travel functions internally. What I did not expect, to my delight, was to get to spend a weekend reliving my youth at my very first Sports Day!!!

Unfortunately we never had one in my school while growing up so naturally I was very excited to have to opportunity to recapture this void in my childhood!

I was all prepared for the stereotypical Sports Day. I had visions of egg and spoon races, sack races all your typical School Sports Day activity. However, what I experienced at Condover Hall was something else! Egg and spoon races where the spoon has to be held between your legs, sack races with five people in a bag, even a bouncy castle and giant gorilla which formed part of an obstacle course – everything here had a twist on it.

Exceeding my expectations doesn’t truly do Condover Hall justice. Scaling the gladiator wall, navigating the laser maze, crawling through the tunnel (which to be honest for someone who is claustrophobic is probably one of the scariest things I have ever done!!!) and countless more activities that made the weekend a spectacular success for all involved.

One thing that struck me particular was the staff.  Without doubt they made the weekend! Their genuine enthusiasm for everything we did was contagious and created a fantastic fun and competitive atmosphere.

Even though my muscles are still aching, I am covered in bruises and still don’t feel like all the mud and flour has been washed off, I can say without doubt that it that it was worth  every second!!!

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Jennifer finds her flare for finance…

House hunting during the grad scheme is difficult

Jennifer is still house hunting

Jennifer explains the highs and lows of relocating…

So, three weeks into my first placement and I am still homeless!!! Well not quite. I have been temporarily adopted by a lovely TUI colleague so I have a place to call home for a few weeks until I find somewhere more permanent.  This is a huge relief as I have been spending my nights curled up on friend’s couches, wide awake with the fear of mice nibbling my toes at night! Although I am truly grateful it is not the best way to start a new job! I have definitely learned my lesson for my next placement, preparation, preparation, preparation!!!

On the job front it’s looking great so far. I am settling in to my first role working with the Business Development Team in TUI Travel House in Crawley. Although this is not quite as exotic a location as some of my fellow grads, Ben and Deborah who were lucky enough to begin their first placement in the US, I feel incredibly privileged to be here. Coming straight from Ireland I have never lived in a big city like London before and I am learning pretty quickly that life moves at a different pace here!

Transport, for one thing takes a bit of getting used to. I now realise that standing back to let someone on the train before you often means that you end up not being able to get on yourself! My former ten minute drive to work has now become a five minute walk followed by ten minute tube to a thirty five minute train and finally a ten minute bus ride! On the upside, and it is an incredible upside, I have so far been to see the Lion King in the West End, spent a day at Thorpe Park, visited the Natural History Museum, explored Hyde Park and the legendary Speakers Corner, seen Buckingham palace and got a  Big Bus Tour of the city (very touristy I know!).

Aside from the practicalities of settling down in a new city, I have come to the conclusion that I am going to love my first placement. TUI Travel House is a fantastic work environment and I am lucky to be able to mingle with the top minds in the company on a daily basis. I even got to attend a dinner with the SAS Board, alongside the other grads, which was amazing! It is very inspirational and motivating to work with such people and to get to see what they do on a daily basis and how they got to this position! I have learned so much already.

My placement is closely involved with the financial aspect of business development, mergers and takeovers. Before I began this placement I didn’t think the financial side of business would be the most appealing to me. While I could clearly see that a financial understanding is absolutely essential to developing my business acumen I always saw this as more of a necessity opposed to something I would genuinely enjoy. However, after just two weeks of working here, I am beginning to see things differently. When you can understand how the financial figures relate back to a business’s particular strategy and how internal and external factors affect the profit figures everything suddenly becomes much more interesting! The more I learn to look behind the figures the more I get drawn in! The best part is that this is only the beginning!!!

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Welcome Jennifer

Jennifer O’Gorman, the second new recruit to post, introduces herself.

Hi Everyone! My name is Jennifer O’Gorman and I will be one of the six new Specialist and Activity Graduates for this year. I feel both incredibly lucky and privileged to have such a fantastic opportunity and I intend on making the most of it! I grew up in Waterford in Ireland, which is known as the sunny south east; although in reality it still seems to rain quite a lot! I graduated with a BCL in Law from University College Cork after which I spent a year studying for a Master’s in Business Management at Queens University in Belfast. During my time in Belfast I set up and ran a cross community project which attempted to unite children from across the region through the medium of music. This has definitely been my greatest personal achievement to date.

 I am currently working for an adventure travel company in Cork and I am responsible for our J1 summer work and travel student visas to the US. I have always been passionate about travel and I have been lucky enough to have travelled a great deal across the US and Europe in addition to spending my summers working abroad. It was only once I began my current job that I was inspired to strive for a career within the travel industry. It is a continuously evolving, dynamic and exciting industry, which I believe will be able to satisfy my need to both challenge and inspire myself, especially while working for such an inspirational company as TUI.  In order to properly prepare for my new career in the travel industry I am spending six weeks this summer exploring South East Asia, truly an adventure of a life time and one which, alongside my career at TUI, I cannot wait to begin!

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