Georgina Wood, alumna, BA (Hon) Business Management and Marketing
After studying History, Psychology, Theatre Studies and English at college, Georgina Wood found herself unsure which direction she wanted to take when it came to continuing her education. “I had a few different options available to me,” she admits, “but I was working in a restaurant to earn extra money and gain some experience. I progressed fairly quickly to assistant manager, so I decided to stay in my job while also fitting some travelling time in.”
Moving to London
When she returned from her travels, Georgina was offered a managerial position at another bar, but she knew that she really wanted to return to higher education.
“I decided that a degree in business management and marketing would be interesting and useful,” she says. “ I decided to study at Worcester University but after two years, I wanted to move to London to spend time with my sister.”
Not wanting to give up on her degree, Georgina began looking for a university that would accept her as a final year student while also offering her the flexibility to have a part-time job – essential to fund living in London.
“LSBU allowed me to transfer the units I had studied at Worcester,” says Georgina. “They were also really flexible, even offering some lectures in the evenings. It really suited my hours, and gave me the flexibility to organise shift patterns between my studies.”
Georgina quickly settled into life at LSBU, and found herself really enjoying her new routine. “The lecturers were so engaging, friendly and welcoming,” she says. “They were so passionate, which made the presentations easier to follow and much more enjoyable.”
Georgina particularly enjoyed working with Charles Graham, her dissertation supervisor. “My dissertation was based on email marketing, which I was able to base on a real-life situation thanks to my job at the time at the Rainforest Cafe,” she says. “He was really helpful as I developed my dissertation, and was always on hand to answer my questions."
As well as LSBU’s staff, Georgina enjoyed listening to the industry speakers that LSBU regularly invited to speak to students. “It really brought the subject to life, listening to people who were working in marketing and seeing how they applied what we were learning to their work,” she says.
Georgina is now Head of Services and HR at the Rainforest Cafe, a role with a wide remit.
“It covers the restaurant itself, which seats 400 people at a time, and the retail aspect on the ground floor as well,” she says. “I make sure that all the departments are running smoothly, meet with the department managers, offer support to my colleagues and feed reports back to my general manager. I also take a hands-on approach, helping out in the restaurant during peak times, as well as dealing with all HR aspects within the company.”
It’s a role she finds extremely rewarding. “I love seeing staff make progress and flourish in their careers. It’s great to see them becoming friends with their colleagues, and working as part of a diverse team.”
New ways of working
There are challenges too, but Georgina feels her degree has prepared her well to meet them.
“I have a lot of people to manage, and need to delegate effectively,” she says. “My degree has really helped me because in my final year at LSBU, I was able to apply everything I was learning to the Rainforest Cafe. It gave me the confidence to try new things, to bring new ways of working to the organisation and to become an ambitious and problem-solving individual.”
Georgina’s degree has also helped her to identify new ways to market the Rainforest Cafe – a business where much of the marketing was based around traditional and partnership channels.
“It helped me see how technology can be applied to our organisation,” she says. “We’ve explored apps and social media, and developed our email marketing to provide targeted, personalised experiences rather than a mass email approach.”
Georgina is currently completing a Masters in Human Resources, and is excited to be working with new owners at the Rainforest Cafe.
“I plan to explore many more ideas for the business, and think my role will become even more interesting over the next few years. My degree has laid a solid foundation for my career, and I’ll always value the part that LSBU played in my education.”