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Management skills on offer across the South - and beyond

Published: 15 September 2004

Organizations as diverse as British Airways, Phillips Semiconductors, the Met Office and Wight Salads have been getting some extra expertise this summer from the University of Southampton.

More than sixty students taking MSc degrees in Mathematics and Management have swopped their studies for three-month real-life projects in a variety of industries and organizations. Their reports will form part of their final degree work. Sponsors have all come up with a complex project needing analytical and problem-solving work.

Isle of Wight tomato producer Wight Salads is sponsoring student Isa Iglesias this year. Company director Alan Parker said, "Our customers, such as Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose and Marks and Spencer are extremely demanding. To stay competitive and profitable it is essential that we can accurately predict the yield of our tomato crops at least 2 weeks ahead. This is a tough problem and I'm delighted that Isa will be working with us over the summer to see if there are ways we can improve our forecasting."

Isa added, "This is a challenging assignment but it's very interesting. Everyone at Wight Salads is friendly and helpful and I am very ambitious to succeed for them."

University of Southampton Industrial Liaison Manager Dr Ian Rowley said, "Our Management students bring a fresh pair of eyes and the latest techniques into host organisations during the three month placements. Projects can include increasing efficiency, reducing costs, developing strategy, managing demand or improving standards of service."

Students are also carrying out projects overseas, tackling business challenges in India, Brazil, Canada, France and Greece.

Student projects in past years include a computer model to simulate emergency tanker movements for Southern Water and studies of patient flows for the Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

Paul Fenton from Southern Water commented, "It was a very successful project and well worth doing it. Management science was just what we needed to see whether this complex operation would be feasible in real life."

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Notes for editors

The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University has over 19,200 students and 4,800 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £250 million.

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