Building confidence as a Service Operations Leader

07 September 2021

Before making a career change into operations, Susan Andrew looked to build her knowledge, expertise and confidence in the field, and therefore chose to study the Postgraduate Award in Service Operations Management at WBS.

I’m Susan Andrew and I’m a qualified lawyer who has worked in financial services consulting for a number of years before making a career change to lead an operations department at a Lloyd’s insurance company.

Prior to making my career change I had plenty of experience managing teams, projects and budgets but I felt that I lacked technical knowledge around service operations management. I could ask good questions and make sensible decisions based on what was in front of me, but my knowledge was limited when it came to service design and control.

My boss at the time knew that Warwick Business School (WBS) had a good reputation in this field and recommended that I looked into the courses. The Postgraduate Award in Service Operations Management course content covered the foundation in service operations that I felt I needed, and explored numerous different concepts, models and tools that I could use in different situations.  The fact that it was focused on services (as opposed to manufacturing) was really important to me because I wanted the content to be as relevant as possible. I felt the course had the level of academic rigour I wanted but without the need to commit to a degree level course that would take multiple years.

One of my highlights from the programme were the case studies during the webinars, as they really brought the teaching to life. My favourite example was of a restaurant chain. The lesson was about customisation and highly personalised services vs high volume, highly standardised services. This particular example highlighted that it was possible in the right circumstances to create a service that felt highly personalised whilst actually being delivered in a highly standardised way (with associated cost and other benefits). This inspired me to aim for something similar in my own team.

I also liked the fact that we were encouraged to use our own organisation as the basis for our assessment pieces. Sometimes at work we don’t get enough time to take a step back and really focus on particular ideas or problems. The assessments gave me the opportunity to spend some time applying new concepts to my current job and I came away with some really valuable insights as a result that prompted me to do things differently. 

The my.wbs online learning platform is a very professional way of delivering course content.  Everything, including access to webinars, is in one place. I didn’t need to check an additional university email address to ensure I had all the right comms which was great.

I enjoyed the online learning format and the lessons were structured in a way that kept me engaged throughout, e.g. you need to interact with the lessons to move forward but you can also see what your classmates have posted so it feels as though you are part of a cohort as opposed to just doing the online lessons on your own.

This course has given me greater confidence as a service operations leader and prompted me to make changes in my department that I would otherwise not have considered. It has enabled me to make improvements to the services provided by my department in a much more focused and impactful way.

For me it was a great foundation in the tools and techniques of service operations management. I would recommend it to anyone starting out in this field or indeed more experienced operations managers that feel they could benefit from expanding their repertoire of tools and techniques.

Find out more about the Postgraduate award in Service Operations Management.