Graduated! – Not just yet

Uliana’s perspective on the Management project

It is challenging, but there is beauty in it too. You get a lot of freedom; it's you and your team who are fully in control of the project. You learn so much and you will grow as a person. It will be a rollercoaster, but it will be a fun one!

The management project – the final project before you leave on your internship and graduate! The end seems to be so near, yet so far away. It’s the point every student has been preparing for the previous three years. All your knowledge is put to the test, just like your patience, stubbornness and resilience. It is your time to shine, even when it gets difficult and you are running on 5 cups of coffee a day. Yet, no matter how tough it gets towards the end, or how stressed you feel working with your group, you will be proud of the product, and you will look back at it as one of the greatest lessons in your life! 

groep studenten in nette pakken staan voor een wit hek met een vijver op de achtergrond en veel groen om hen heen
Uliana (second girl on the right) and her group!

The process of our project

I had the privilege to carry out a project for the Sandals Resorts International, where my group and I performed research to create new service and product offerings for all-inclusive luxury resorts, targeted at the emerging future customers. Due to the broad scope of the project,  defining the main problem was difficult at first. But once we had decided on the direction of the project, making decisions on the action plan was less challenging. The process of designing and doing research was the longest and most valuable of the whole project and took us around two and a half months. In these months, we designed and carried out six focus group interviews in three different cities across the Netherlands and performed an extensive analysis with the obtained data. We designed three unique concepts of all-inclusive hotels and carried out a survey to identify the one most attractive to our target population, Gen Z.

What to expect?

To answer this question, let me start with what not to expect. Do not expect an excessive amount of guidance: you are now a young professional. While you will have coaching throughout your years at HMSM, this is the final graduation project and you're expected to do this! Sometimes you will have to start from scratch again and at times, you feel like you are banging your head against the wall, but remember this:  

It is challenging, but there is beauty in it too! You get a lot of freedom; you are the boss, and it is you and your team who are fully in control of the project. You learn so much from this freedom and you will grow as a person. It will be a rollercoaster, but it will be a fun one! Go out, organise bonding sessions or meet up for a drink, it is your last year at school and it should not be less fun than the years before! Stay open-minded and you will make new friends, handle professional discussions and broaden your worldview like never before. You will participate in a challenging and interesting project, create meaningful connections in the industry.

How to make the best of it

  • Take it easy: negative feedback is not the end of the world, and a little argument is part of the brainstorming process. Direct your energy in the right course; information will not be served on a silver platter, so go out there, do some research, go back to basics or read literature of the previous years. 
  • Don’t procrastinate. Yes, concentration is hard to sustain and playing Lingo with your group is a lot of fun, but it takes away your time, and it will be your personal time in the end. 
  • Keep an overview. Set a deadline and to do list and work through it. This way you stay on top of the game and enjoy the process a little more.
  • Most importantly, be proud of the result! No matter the outcome, you will put so much time and effort into this project, you should be proud of the work you and your teammates deliver in the end. 

Personal growth 

As for me, what have I learned?  I learned to work in a group, give my opinion, but to respect the views of others as well. I learned to be independent and the difficulties of designing your own research. The project allowed me to grasp the complex idea of qualitative interviews and taught me how to handle focus group discussions. I gained insight into the all-inclusive industry and its future developments, as well as an understanding of wants and needs of the emerging guests. Most importantly, I realised that I love the process of concept creation: gathering and analysing data and using creativity to transform it into a realistic and tangible idea. This is what I will take with me in my future career,  an understanding of what brings me joy, the knowledge of how to apply it and a deep understanding of the industry, its emerging trends and future generations. 

Overall, graduating is a fun and rewarding process. There are so many things ahead to look forward to and there are so many accomplishments to be proud of. So, keep your head up and spirits even higher! 

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