Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)



Country: UK  

Name: Alastair Stewart

Company: PA Consulting

Position: Management Consultant

ITS Course: BA (Hons) Environmental Management (Transport) 2008

I currently work for PA Consulting in their Transport, Travel and Logistics Practice. PA is a management consultancy firm which specialises in consulting, technology and innovation. In a vast sector covering roads, rail, aviation, shipping, travel organisations, logistics firms and city transport authorities, I tend to spend most time with clients in the aviation and road sub-sectors. Clients ask PA to help them solve their most complex and challenging problems which can range from reducing costs while at the same time improving operational performance to adapting their business model to take advantage of change.

For me, I benefited in particular from ITS’ strong reputation in the industry as well as its extensive network of alumni. ITS is recognised by employers as the leading academic transport school which I found invaluable when applying for graduate jobs as it opened the door to many first round interviews. The transport sector is a small world and it’s amazing just how many people have studied at ITS at some point in their careers!

I originally opted to study Environmental Management which is housed under the same Faculty of Environment as ITS. As I progressed through my degree, studying many ITS modules along the way I realised that I’d like to pursue my interest in transport through my future career.

My advice to students interested in this course and a career in transport is that the transport sector is an exciting place to be at the moment. There are a number of emerging trends such as autonomous vehicles which are poised to disrupt the current landscape as we know it. I would advise students interested in a potential career in transport to make sure they are best placed to take advantage of this - network, network and network!

I’ve been fortunate to work on many exciting projects with some great people but my career highlight to date has to be helping Heathrow Airport prepare for the London 2012 Olympic Games. With Heathrow already operating at 99.2% capacity there were fears that the airport wouldn’t be able to cope with the additional traffic. As part of the preparation, a temporary terminal was built for the exclusive use of athletes and their support teams. I was involved in the associated logistics planning and modelling of the operational resource requirement.

At the start of my final year it was starting to dawn on me that I needed to make sure I was fully prepared for the competitive world of work. I visited the careers centre a number of times which I found very useful in helping to improve my CV as well as to learn about practical techniques and approaches I could use in interviews and assessment centres.