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Flying high – graduation success for Leeds Beckett tourism student


A Royal Brunei Airlines employee has propelled his way to academic success after graduating from Leeds Beckett University.

Adiel Mambara

Adiel Mambara, Country Manager, UK and Ireland, for Royal Brunei Airlines has graduated from the online, distance learning, MSc Travel Business Leadership degree at Leeds Beckett, after studying part-time for the qualification over three years.

Speaking about his studies, Adiel said: “The course has been very practical in that I was able to apply what I was learning back to my work place.  For example, one of the modules was in strategic management.  Developing strategies is something I do constantly in my role and this module helped me improve my strategic analysis and thinking by using theoretical models in my day to day strategic planning and analysis.

“One of the greatest advantages of being a distance learning student is that you can learn at your own pace and in your own time. Throughout the course I found myself challenging myself, to be one step ahead of myself. For example, I made sure that I dedicated an extra hour a day, reading ahead for the following week’s topic and ensuring that I am up to speed with all my homework. I must also mention the excellent support from the Leeds Beckett teaching and support staff. Without this support, I would not have made it this far.”

In May, Adiel was awarded Professional of the Year 2017 from the Zimbabwe Achievers Award committee. Upon successfully completing the course, in July, Adiel was announced as the winner of the prestigious Institute of Travel and Tourism Student of the Year award: he collected his award at an event at the House of Commons.

Professor Rhodri Thomas, Dean of the School of Events, Tourism, Hospitality and Languages at Leeds Beckett, said: “Adiel’s achievement epitomises the approach we take to education.  Our staff are what we term ‘engaged scholars’.  We are scholarly but apply our scholarship to real life situations so that various stakeholders benefit. In this case, it is evident that Adiel has developed professionally and it is encouraging that this has been recognised by others.” 

Trish Coll, Course Leader, added: “We are delighted for Adiel. It has been a privilege to be part of Adiel’s postgraduate learning journey. Adiel has demonstrated dedication and determination as a student, been a reliable and professional course representative and been an inspiration to his peers.  He has also found the time to support and encourage them whilst studying part-time, and working in a high pressure, full-time job which covers nationwide responsibilities, growing Royal Brunei’s customer base and increasing market share to Royal Brunei’s key destinations, as well as bringing new initiatives to market. As our first MSc Travel Business Leadership graduate, I am delighted to see our course, designed to enhance the ability of students to lead effectively at operational and strategic levels within public and private sectors of the travel industries, has already started to impact upon Adiel’s evidence based, research approach within his management role. I look forward to following his continued success in the future.”

Explaining how he combined his studies with a full-time role, Adiel continued: “It is never easy to balance work and home life with studies and it all boils down to discipline and how you plan.  From the beginning of my course I devised a timetable and this timetable became my guiding compass.  In my home, I created a work area (and called it my war chest) which was entirely the area I used to study. Every day after work I would stay back in my office for a minimum of two hours to concentrate on my course.

“On weekends I would spend time with my family and only study after 9pm for the usual two hours and sometimes more, if I had fallen behind during the week. I am thankful I had an understanding wife who supported me throughout my journey together with my family.

“I am over the moon about finally graduating and still think I am dreaming! We all have our own Mount Everest to climb, and I am not only truly excited to have successfully completed the MSc Travel Business Leadership programme; but to be the first ever MSc Travel Business Leadership graduate is amazing. I feel that I have truly conquered my mountain!

“The advice I can give to anyone starting a similar course, particularly when they are working, is that having self- belief and having a plan are the first steps to achieving your goals. It takes great sacrifice and commitment, but self-belief and a credible plan helps you through that journey. Three years goes by so quickly with the work you have to put in that includes assignments.

“You are never alone when you decide to start a distance learning programme with Leeds Beckett, you will always have support from the Leeds Beckett teaching and support team and you will also have the opportunity to interact with other students who are in a similar situation.  Get involved from day one and keep on track by having a timetable that helps structure your time.”

Describing his job at Royal Brunei (RB), Adiel said: “My current role encompasses overseeing and managing a number of areas that ensure RB maximises revenue opportunities in the UK, via all distribution channels, through the most effective and innovative way. Most importantly, it involves providing effective leadership to the UK team, helping position RB as a warm and professional airline that delivers on the highest levels of customer service for all our guests.

“As a Country Manager UK, I lead a team of diverse professional women and men who support the RB operations and help in driving RB’s objectives of continuing to serve our customers and positioning RB as one of the best carriers in the world. In the UK we have had many achievements from winning awards, creating innovative partnerships, improving our brand awareness in the market place.  All this gives me a sense of purpose, hope strength and inspiration in helping shape RB’s future and delivering first class service to all our guests. I enjoy and love every part of my job.

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