Fruitful and fun study tour

A group photograph after the certificate presentation. Tio is on the left, while right in the centre is associate dean Abbott.

PKT Logistics’ third Hull University Business School study tour proved to be both educational and fun, reports BRIAN MARTIN.

This year’s Hull University Business School (HUBS) programme, organised by PKT Logistics CEO Datuk Michael Tio, proved to be a resounding success and was an experience the 28-strong Malaysian group will not easily forget.

During the 11-day trip, the participants, who comprised entrepreneurs, CEOs, academics and journalists, took part in the university’s special executive programme and underwent three intensive days of studies. They also had the opportunity to go on a sightseeing tour of northern England.

The study tour was the third HUBS trip organised by Tio.

“HUBS1 and HUBS2 was so successful that I was inundated with requests by interested parties who wanted to take part in further study tours, but I could not agree to every request,” said Tio.

He added that he would be organising a fourth study tour in October to cater to another group.

Interestingly, Tio reviews all applications for the HUBS programme via Facebook. As the study tour has become increasingly popular, he gets hundreds of requests from people interested to go on these trips.

“PKT is a Facebook-enabled company, and even though I don’t advertise the HUBS tours, the activities on social media has ensured that there’s a steady stream of entrepreneurs who are eager to join us,” Tio said.

The trip was certainly an eye-opener for HUBS3 participants. Upon arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport, the group was split into four MPVs. The first stop was Manchester – at its most famous landmark Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United.

The participants had their fill of shopping at the club’s megastore before being treated to lunch at the Red Café.

It was quite an experience to be at the KC Stadium for the Hull vs Arsenal match.
It was quite an experience to be at the KC Stadium for the Hull vs Arsenal match.

After spending a night in Manchester, the group took a scenic journey through the Yorkshire countryside to York, Whitby and Scarborough. Highlights for this day included a visit to York Minster, a 1,000-year-old cathedral, and a view of the bay where Captain James Cook set sail for the New World and discovered Australia. Lunch was at the world-famous Magpie Café, which lays claim to serving the best fish and chips in all of the UK.

The day ended when the group arrived in Hull.

The next three days saw participants being fully immersed in the University of Hull’s business school executive programme. They attended a variety of lectures given by experienced academic staff, including the Associate Dean of the business school, Prof Andrew Abbott, the MBA programme director Prof Steve Armstrong, the Peter Thompson Chair in Port Logistics Prof David Menachof, city logistics specialist Dr Alessandro Creazza and Disney corporate culture expert Dr Claire Hookham Williams.

Participants were given an overview of the business school and its executive MBA programme, a demonstration of the varsity’s logistics laboratory and briefed on HUBS’s research. There was also a talk on Hull, a city that recently won the right to call itself the UK’s city of culture for 2017.

But the most interesting talk was probably the one by Dr Williams who spoke on the multi-billion dollar Disney empire.

At the end of the executive programme, every Malaysian participant was given a certificate of attendance. They were then treated to a sumptuous dinner with senior academic staff of the university, as well as its pro vice chancellor Prof Glenn Burgess.

The HUBS programme turned out to be a trip down memory lane for one participant, Jauriah Ghani, an entrepreneur who runs Jufiyun Edar Sdn Bhd, a cosmetics and health food firm.

“It was a rather emotional trip for me because I did my MBA at the University of Hull 20 years ago, and I never thought I would go back to my old campus.

“I learnt a lot on this trip, about human values and friendship. Most of us did not know each other but, somehow, we got along and made this trip an enjoyable one,” she said.

The last day in Hull was spent in the company of its most prominent businessman Dr Assem Allam, the chairman of Allam Marine. During the 30-minute session with him, Allam, one of Britain’s richest individuals, shared his success story and talked about his business philosophy.

At the end of the session, Tio received permission from Allam to set up an official Hull City Tigers supporters club in Malaysia. Allam, who is the club’s chairman and majority shareholder, also promised to visit Malaysia to launch the supporters club.

The Malaysians then spent the next two days exploring England’s famed lake district, a perfect picture-postcard area that’s a favourite of locals and tourists alike. Accommodation was at the picturesque Lakeside Hotel and Spa on the banks of Lake Windermere.

Day Nine of the HUBS tour proved to be one of the highlights of the trip – a visit to the KC Stadium to see the Hull Tigers taking on Arsenal.

The matchday atmosphere was a first for many of the participants who finally got the chance to experience a “live” English football match up close. The seats arranged by PKT Logistics were extra special, with the Malaysians sitting just next to the away team dugout.

Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal manager, was literally within touching distance!

After the previous evening’s excitement, the group had a 5am start next day to catch a flight from Manchester to London. Upon arrival in the capital city, they were taken on “DMT’s famous walking tour of London”, which was Tio’s way of introducing the group to as many of the city’s landmarks as was possible within the space of about five hours.

This was followed by a good dinner in Chinatown before the group caught the Malaysia Airlines flight home later that night.

One of the youngest participants, Lim Ee Huang, managing director of Doremi Sdn Bhd, an AV equipment and events company, summed up the feelings of the majority of the group.

“I made a lot of friends on this trip and I also learnt to think out of the box. Most of the participants I interacted with on the trip had interesting stories to tell and I feel inspired by them. Personally, HUBS3 was more than a success. If there is a HUBS4, I will go for it,” she said.

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