Business and management student student, Michelle Hopwood, recently got the opportunity to attend the World Travel Market conference in London. On top of this, Michelle has also been awarded two scholarships. We spoke to Michelle about these experiences and her time studying at Edge Hill University.
So, what is the World Travel Market Conference?
World Travel Market London is a global event which takes place at London Excel. Domestic and international travel producers, business to business suppliers, destination management organisations, government ministers and policy makers attend the conference. Travel and tourism professionals converged at the conference to share insights into the successes and challenges of their businesses, make connections and learn about industry trends and new products. The event also enables destinations to exhibit their brand and their major accommodations, hospitality, and attractions. The conference stages keynote speaker sessions across four main stages; this year Steven Bartlett from Dragons Den and Diary of a CEO was a keynote speaker. There is a government ministers session looking to the future.
What did you engage with at the event?
The three days that followed were incredibly insightful, opening my eyes to a world I never knew existed; my world got huge in just a few hours. Seeing the Princess of Thailand, speaking with representatives from Trinidad (my family roots), random dance flash mobs, and so many dogs with jobs left me not knowing what to expect next. The Sustainability Stage became my second home for the event. Professor Harold Goodwin led some wonderfully insightful panels on sustainability and responsible tourism in discussions with TUI, ABTA, Sustainable Tourism Alliance, G Adventures, My Green Butler, Contiki, Treadright, easyJet, and elsewhere sessions led by the Travel and Tourism Institute. It was exciting to hear from the Future Stage sessions about the upcoming real introduction of the space tourism industry.
How did the opportunity to attend the conference arise for you?
After attending an event run by the Tourism Society in Chester, I followed a fellow delegate on LinkedIn who I had connected with. They had reposted a post about their attendance at the WTM, so I investigated further. I discussed the conference with my module leader, who said he would find out how I could attend. I was utterly astonished when I received an email to say I had been cordially invited to attend all three days of the conference by the world-renowned Professor Harold Goodwin himself, the industry leader of Responsible Tourism and key moderator of the Sustainability Stage at the conference.
How has Edge Hill supported your employability and career enhancement?
The Business School really promote the benefits of LinkedIn to students, and the knowledge I have gained from using the platform was evident when I was able to attend this conference as a result. For me, participating in the conference is the Edge Hill motto In Scientia Opportunitas (which translates to: ‘in knowledge there is opportunity’).
What inspired you to study Business and Management at Edge Hill University?
I have worked in various business-related roles in the private and public sectors, in human resource, administration, safeguarding, and health and safety, so I always had my eye on a management position. However, two years ago, my parents passed away five months apart, losing my father in the first few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic. That became the catalyst for wanting to achieve a long-forgotten dream of attaining a degree in business and management, hopefully in their honour. I then studied for an online tourism certificate during the lockdown, which inspired me to enrol and hopefully work in management and sustainability one day.
You recently received a scholarship award. How did you achieve this?
I was in shock when I received the emails to say I had been nominated and was awarded two. The first, the University Award Scholarship, was for my contribution in helping to raise the profile of Edge Hill through my online presence and business acumen. I was nominated for my promotion of Edge Hill and the fantastic student community through widening participation panels and contributing to the university’s equality and diversity agendas. The nomination was also for my work as a Business School Course Representative in which I supported taster days, board meetings, and student forums to provide feedback on areas for development but mostly highlighting key strengths of our Business School. As a mature student my passions are sustainability and encouraging employability so was recognised for attending external initiatives on breaking the bias around women in senior management, through diversity in the workplace, and participating in the nationwide TG Consulting 7-week ReAction 24/7 employability programme. I feel honoured to continue to promote Edge Hill on the ReAction programme as I have been invited back as a guest speaker to talk to the subsequent cohort, shortly before Christmas. My second scholarship was an Academic Achievement Award for achieving the highest average percentage mark in my cohort; an achievement made possible by the Fastrack programme opening doors to my Edge Hill journey. Achieving these scholarships has enabled me to purchase extra resources to advance my studies and free up time from working to be able to commit more time to dive deeper into areas of research, studying what I am passionate about and hopefully enriching my graduate brand.
Anything else you’d like to add about your student experience at Edge Hill?
Over the last twelve months, I have involved myself in many extra-curricular activities, which have taught me how to manage my time well, learn professionalism and commercial awareness, and build resilience. It felt like a real honour to represent Edge Hill and the Business School at the conference applying the skills I have developed. Whilst I cannot put a price on the value this experience has added to my future career, it felt great to network with industry professionals who would be interested in getting involved with future work with my University.
As part of our Business School community, you’ll grow, develop and be immersed in the business world. Learning from experts, you’ll develop real-life skills, hear about the latest research and discover how businesses of all sizes operate in today’s challenging climate.
December 16, 2022