32 Grads, an Adventure Kayaker & a Chartered Accountant

Having spent several months familiarising ourselves with our first roles, attempting to understand the ins and outs of TUI and building our skillsets specific to our placements, last week provided the opportunity to focus solely on our development needs.

There are two development weeks integrated into the scheme, the first in January and the next one in June. Despite all being busy with our current placements, the week was a welcome break from the day job and a great chance to not only get together as a group again but also meet all of the international grads who have been on placements in different source markets around Europe.

After being split into two groups, the week commenced with a full day workshop on Finance Essentials. I’ll be honest, I was not overly enthusiastic about a full day talking about finance but the workshop was interactive and there were plenty of chocolate treats on offer for those who answered questions correctly. Furthermore as grads I’m sure we’ve all been in meetings with all sorts of financial terminology and no clue what on earth is going on so now we will all be in a better place to understand. It is also essential to have a good foundation in budgeting, balance sheets and income statements to move into management positions in the business, all of which we aspire to on the graduate scheme.

The rest of the week consisted of workshops on Personal Effectiveness & Time Management, Emotional Intelligence and Communicating with Impact presented by an ex-adventure kayaker. It would take me a good few years to tell you everything I learned from the workshops but I’ll quickly go over a few of my key takeaways.

  1. The smallest changes to your work habits can have significant improvements in productivity. Whether it be only looking at your emails twice a day or single tasking, I’ve already seen results!
  2. That there is a separate primitive part of the brain – the ‘Chimp’/emotional part of the brain – that works against the rational part of the brain. Everybody has a ‘Chimp’ that can hold you back and make you react irrationally. We were taught the importance of understanding our Chimp and managing it with various techniques such as mindfulness and journaling.
  3. Being assertive is almost entirely about body language and tone of voice. Even if you know what you are talking about, you need to present yourself in a convincing way to be heard. We practiced this using a speech of past US President, Franklin Roosevelt, giving each other tips on how to communicate more effectively.

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Finally the workshops culminated in each of us presenting our own personal brand, a sort of elevator pitch, focussing on our values, what drives us, what we pride ourselves on and the image we aim to exude. It was a fitting end to the week as we head back to our desks with new friends in the international grads and a clearer focus on what we want to be known for at TUI and in life in general (turns out I’m good at being cheesy)

Edward Walker

Analytics Graduate

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