Jonathan Barker discusses why he chose to study the Postgraduate Award in Service Operations Management, his experience on the course and the direct impact the course has had on his career.
Introduction and my career history
My name is Jonathan Barker. I am a Principal Consultant and the Head of Planning at Tracsis Rail Consultancy, where I have worked for seven years. My role focuses on the delivery of strategic rail projects which include new infrastructure schemes, international franchise bidding and the design of concept rail operations plans. I also lead a team of experienced rail operations consultants who also work on strategic projects, as well as providing direct support for Train Operating Companies.
My role includes technical delivery, line management responsibilities and an operations management function (feeding into the company budget, monitoring performance metrics, recruitment and managing the upcoming pipeline of work in line with resource availability etc.).
I began my career in the rail industry 14 years ago, working for Serco Rail Operations and then for Network Rail (in rail operations planning) before joining Tracsis.
Why I chose to study the Postgraduate Award in Service Operations Management at WBS
I was looking for a part-time course that would help me to develop both my awareness and execution in operations management, which coincided with an increased level of responsibility in my position with Tracsis Rail Consultancy at the time. I have a keen interest in business management and was looking for new ways of approaching existing operational challenges that the business was facing. In completing the course, I was hoping to gain fresh insights and practical tools to help both myself and the management team address these challenges.
I chose WBS specifically because the institution has a great reputation for quality, both in terms of its programmes and the faculty. The course content was also extremely relevant to my interests.
My highlights from the programme
I found all the modules to be extremely practical, along with the associated assignments. By this, I mean that it was not just management theory but something tangible that could be applied to real-world situations. I also enjoyed the discussions during the WBS Live sessions about how the theory applied to various case studies.
The findings of my assignments led me to drive for changes at Tracsis Rail Consultancy which ultimately improved our internal processes and efficiency.
My experience studying on my.wbs
I found studying on the my.wbs platform to be straight forward and intuitive. The pre-module reading was also useful as it provided the context for module ahead and also gave the opportunity to start thinking about the content of the upcoming assignment.
Impact on my career and organisation
My assignments mainly focused on my employer, Tracsis Rail Consultancy. My work made a number of recommendations as to how existing processes could be improved to increase our agility when responding to demand as well as to improve the consistency in our outputs to clients. I have been able to put some of these recommendations into effect which has yielded a noticeable improvement. The course has also enabled me to take a more holistic approach to specific business challenges.
Since completing the PGA, I have been promoted to the position of Principal Consultant as well as becoming the Head of Planning. This has enabled me to use what I learned in the PGA to directly influence the operations management of the business, for the better.
Why should someone join the Service Operations Management programme at WBS?
The PGA SOM programme at WBS provides very useful and practical information for those involved in, or aspiring to be involved in, operations management.
The course is well structured and there is brilliant support from the lecturers and faculty staff.
I believe the completion of the course will enhance one’s career prospects as the information learned as part of the course will make the individual more effective at work. The application of established operations management principals and the fresh perspective that the course provides can only be a benefit.
Find out more about the Postgraduate Award in Service Operations Management