Published: 17th May 2024

Meet Calvin Mandair, our Research Manager...

Calvin has been with National Express for almost six months and tells us a little more about his background, and what he thinks about working for National Express.

Hi Calvin, what was your job before you joined us here?
My career actually began with Arriva, where I started as a graduate after completing my Masters degree. I joined as a marketing and research graduate, and it was also in this role where I found my passion for data and research, learning from a brilliant Head of Insight.

I have also worked at a company many of you would know, Boots! It was another great experience and a very different role to help me broaden my skill set as more of an analyst and specialist with Marketing ROI and investment. I worked with 22 partner brands across a range of categories, such as Chanel, Colgate, Phillips, and PUIG group. I learned a lot within my time at Boots and managed to grow my partners' investment by 57%, which was a real highlight of my time there.

Most recently before I joined National Express, I was the consumer insight manager at a company called Time Products, which owns 3 watch brands: Sekonda, Accurist, and Limit. Working at Time Products was a great experience where I spearheaded the research and insight function, building it from the ground up. As a business, they never had an insight or research function, so building relationships and developing a clear strategy to support the business was key to my success there. We ran lots of research projects within Time Products, and when I left the business, insight and research were deeply rooted into the overarching strategy, with all of the teams within the business making or wanting to make data-led decisions.

What encouraged you to join National Express?
The opportunity to support a business of National Express's scale with research and insight really excited me. I not only saw it as a great step in my career, joining such a recognisable brand but also a chance to contribute to a company where research can play a pivotal role in driving success.

It was really encouraging that there is already an appreciation for insight and data within the business, which the data and insight team and others have done a great job in promoting.

Launching our very own customer panel showed great commitment from the business in valuing research and data-led decisions, which really made joining National Express an easy choice!

What has worked well for you… and what do you find challenging?
The things I have found that really worked well with National Express are learning from the great teams and individuals around the business. Not only does it help to build the knowledge of the brand, but also to build relationships with key stakeholders.

Secondly, being proactive rather than reactive is really crucial at National Express. There is so much going on that it is important to think about the long term vision, and how research can support longer term goals. Finally, never stop challenging and asking questions..

The biggest challenge I have faced is trying to meet all of the teams and individuals in National Express, not only to learn more about what they do but also to teach them more about how research or data can support them. I have been at National Express for 6 months and still manage to meet someone new each week.

How important is it that you continue to develop?
I really feel that development is a crucial aspect of working within any role, whether you find yourself in a senior or junior position. Pushing yourself to learn something new and provide a skill that is different from others really helps. Not only is development motivating, but it also enables you to be a leader in your specialism.

A great example is how AI is embedding itself into multiple functions; development here may help you build better efficiencies or open up new opportunities.

What is the best thing about working for National Express?
Easily being a part of the data & research team. We have a great mix of talent which you can learn so much from, but more importantly they are all great people and go above and beyond to support.

If you could work in a different area of the business, where would it be?
Not that I would be any good at it, but I would love to be a designer or work in the creative team. It must feel great to produce something and see it come to life and be in front of our customers.

Back to top