Samantha Ball photo

Hospitality and River Team Leader | Coca-Cola London Eye (Merlin Entertainments)

Events and Conference Management MA - 2015

The course has trained me to become more efficient and logical in planning projects in my first management role, but also highlighted the key motives of the London Eye's operator, Merlin Entertainments, and its strategy for creating the "Guest Experience".

What are you doing now?

I am working as a Hospitality and River Team Leader at the London Eye.

 

What did you find most valuable about your course at Westminster? How did the skills you learnt during your degree help you to shape your career?

My course was a massive opportunity for me to develop my knowledge and understanding within the hospitality industry which now reflects in my day to day role. The course has trained me to become more efficient and logical in planning projects in my first management role (eg wedding events at the London Eye) but also highlighted the key motives of the London Eye's operator, Merlin Entertainments, and its strategy for creating the "Guest Experience".

I started working as a Host at Merlin Entertainments’ other attraction, Madame Tussauds while studying and worked there for a year to become stronger in a working environment, while studying to grow in myself. The course helped me to work and get promoted within a year to London Eye, to manage and lead a team in the area which I studied.

 

Why would you recommend Westminster as a place to study?

I recommend Westminster as a place to study due to the relationships with the tutors that motivated me during the course. There was a lot of depth in the modules and themes that were taught, but most importantly a lot of encouragement from my dissertation mentor, Simon Curtis, in my passion to write about and research entertainment destinations and how events can be incorporated into them.

 

What was the best thing about being a student in London?

I love the city, and the fast-paced movement within it, which is where I intended to work after study. But studying and working at the same time educated me not only academically but also trained me to be ready for city life, which is quick, ambitious and broad in opportunity.

 

What extra-curricular activities did you participate in that enhanced your time at the University?

I did some charity fundraising cake sales on campus for certain causes in early spring. At University I did a lot of outside projects to keep my mind occupied and to ensure that I could broaden my network. Within the University itself, I socialised with my classmates also who were from different countries which was a strong advantage to make my student life more memorable.

 

What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing a similar career?

I think it is to construct your studies and assignments in areas of the industry which you have a passion for. For me, working during your studies (part-time, event agency etc) develops you even more, especially if you are looking into a career in tourism, hospitality, events and management. My work at Merlin has allowed me to get stronger in myself and when I manage stressful projects and events.

Also, when studying it is important to look at what skills you already have to enhance your future career. For me, it is like an art form (my background is as an artist originally), and from there it has allowed me to transform my creativity into something far more broad and adaptable to careers within London!

 

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself that may be valuable/interesting to our prospective students or alumni?

Working at the London Eye, I am working for a premium attraction which is always in the eye of any tourist to visit. Being a representative of such an attraction is not only something that I can say I am proud of, but I can also agree that I love my job role and I am thankful for how my course has assisted in getting me to a Team Leader role for this company.