Case study

KTP associate — Lulu Qu

Lulu studied Management for Business Excellence (MBE) at WMG, University of Warwick. After gaining some valuable work experience Lulu applied for a KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership)

How did you get your job?

I first heard about KTPs at an employment workshop at WMG. Based on the KTP associate job description, I found it to be a novel opportunity compared with the majority of other graduate jobs, so I kept my eye on the KTP job centre and found this post (digital transformation and marketing), which is relevant to my educational background and work experience.

Why did a KTP appeal to you?

A KTP allows me to work closely with the business and university academics at the same time. Having access to both industrial insights and academic knowledge is a golden opportunity for me to try to close the gap between research and practice in the business management field.

I had worked for over three years before studying for my Masters. The more time I spent working in a field, the more I realised how much there is to learn. However, knowledge is somewhat powerless unless it is implemented properly in the right place. Therefore, I was fascinated by it.

What did the application process involve?

There were four stages, application submission, presentation preparation, and two rounds of virtual interviews.

The University of Brighton has a very effective online recruitment system and to some extent, the lockdown facilitated the process. The four stages were complete within approximately four weeks.

What were your first few weeks on the KTP like?

They were mainly focussed on settling in and completing various inductions with both the university and the company. I was impressed that my company supervisor (the managing director) took the time to teach me about the company history, organisational culture and structure. I felt valued and engaged from the first day.

At the same time, my KTP officer was on hand to help familiarise me with the project. I also had a few catch-up meetings with my university supervisors and the KTP advisor, which further increased my understanding of the project and how the partnership works.

I started arranging conversations with everyone in the organisation, because each staff member is a key stakeholder in this business transformation project. Essentially, the level of people's buy-in will determine the project outcome.

What's a typical day like?

In general, I work alongside the senior management team, assisting them to prioritise work and ensure the KTP project and deliverables are on track. We have 'Get Things Done' sessions twice a week, where I use Mind Map to record and update information.

I tend to communicate with my remote colleagues most days, which I prefer to do over the phone or Zoom, rather than emails. I also write weekly work reports to share with my academic supervisors for knowledge and information sharing and their feedback.

What are the benefits of a KTP?

A KTP benefits all three parties: the business, the university as well as the KTP associate:

  • The business benefits from the 'innovation' embedded throughout the organisation, such as new products/services, new processes/systems, or new cultures.
  • The university benefits from real and current business insights from both the company partner and the associate, which can be used as case studies for teaching as well as to facilitate undergraduate student projects.
  • I also benefit from the supervision and mentoring from all supervisors, which is valuable for the project and my long-term career. To me, the most important benefit is the opportunity the KTP provides to learn and reflect by doing, as I'm learning something special every day.

What are the challenges?

Challenges vary across different KTPs, but a common challenge faced by KTP associates is the project management aspect of the role; including time management, stakeholder management and change management. The associate is also the project manager; therefore, a high level of ownership and strong leadership skills are essential for the project to succeed.

Also, specifically for my project, developing an innovative branding and marketing strategy for the business to become a disruptor in the traditional tourism industry has been the greatest challenge, particularly in the post-COVID world.

What are your career ambitions after completing the KTP?

I would like to pursue my PhD in management consultancy after the KTP and ultimately work with multiple businesses as a management consultant, helping them to continuously grow and improve. Hopefully, I can keep in touch with and share my cases with the academics.

What advice would you give to others considering a KTP?

If you love challenging yourself and enjoy solving problems as a team, you would love a KTP.

Find out more

How would you rate this page?

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page