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Charting a career in the luxury yacht business

Toby Thwaites (MSc Engineering Business Management 2019) is Business Development Lead for Princess Yachts, a British luxury yacht manufacturer.

Toby Thwaites stood in front of a yacht
Toby Thwaites (MSc Engineering Business Management 2019) is Business Development Lead for Princess Yachts.

I didn't know which direction I wanted to go in after studying for an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering.

While working as a designer for Princess Yachts, I created models and drawings of bespoke options across the model range but felt like I needed a change. I wanted to do something that was more business-focused with different opportunities, which is when I decided to study for a master’s in Engineering Business Management.

After looking at a few universities, I attended the Open Day at Bath and felt at home. I left Princess Yachts but later approached them to be the primary research study for my dissertation.

Graduating with confidence and a job offer

Upon graduating in 2019, I was offered the role of Business Development Lead within the commercial division of Princess Yachts. I am involved in digital transformation projects, looking to maximise contribution, drive efficiency, and support the success of our 45 distributors all around the world. A highlight was attending boot Düsseldorf — one of the biggest boat shows in the world.

I’m a much more confident person since completing my master’s. It sets you up perfectly to push forward with whatever you want to achieve after university. The course attracts people from all around the globe. Everyone brings their varied experiences, perspectives, and cultures to group work, which gives you the ability to understand different viewpoints and ways of approaching problems.

The course contains a balance of self-study with modules that encouraged collaborative work, which helped me make friends really quickly.

Making the most of the experience

A master’s degree is an investment in yourself, one that I’m confident will pay off in the long run. It gives you an edge if you're competing for a job and sets you up with the tools for future career progression.

I really enjoyed the content of the course and the lecturers are always there to support you. There’s a real community feel on campus and among your course mates too. There are lots of social events for postgraduates, which help you settle in quickly. Alongside this, our course leaders also organised activities, all of which contributed to an open and positive environment to learn and enjoy myself.

I lived in Oldfield Park with my housemate and immersed myself in the whole university experience. I joined the yoga society and played badminton as well. I wanted to take advantage of everything that Bath had to offer, alongside my studies. Exploring the beautiful city and surrounding countryside always kept me busy in my downtime.

There are so many clubs and societies. My advice is, if you want to make the most of the year, make friends for life, and learn and grow in so many ways, then get involved in as much as you can. I’d do it all again if I could.

Studying engineering and design at Bath

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