November 2019

Tourism alumni share their career journeys during special ten year reunion at Summer Row

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A group of former classmates from University College Birmingham have revealed how their studies helped pave the way towards a huge variety of careers over the past decade.

Six former postgraduate students gathered at Summer Row for a special reunion ten years on from when they first met while studying a range of tourism-related courses at UCB.

The group, who first came to the University from around Europe as well as India, shared how their skills and knowledge had led them to jobs ranging from working in tourism, hotels and restaurants to marketing, banking and transport.

Tajinder Chaudhry, founder of accessible holidays firm Able Journeys, explained how his MA Tourism Business Administration course had helped him in setting up his company after graduating.

"One thing I was always missing was strategies which need to be put in place to make a company profitable," he said. "I came here and I could correlate a lot of what I was taught with mistakes I was making in the past.

"We were given examples of a lot of established companies which have made mistakes, how to rectify those mistakes and what kind of strategies or marketing plans can be put in place. For me it has been very helpful from a business point of view."

MA Tourism Destination Management graduate Andreea Susu, who works as a project manager for Birmingham's Jury's Inn hotel, described how her course helped shape her working approach.

"It was very useful to learn how to carry out proper research, critical thinking and analysis," she said. "Now I'm working on projects, I find it very useful."

Opportunities have emerged far beyond the tourism and hospitality sectors too. Former PGDip Tourism Business Administration student Elwis Kurzatkowski discussed how the skills developed during his course had enabled him to forge a career in roles ranging from hospitality to recruitment and marketing – including his current role with a mobile payments and content provider in Longbridge.

"As a student sometimes you don't actually realise your set of skills is transferable," he said.

"With our courses, you could basically transfer your skills to anything and apply what we did to any type of industry."

The group's reunion was arranged by Bjorn Schneider, who revealed his MA Tourism Business Administration course had opened up a variety of opportunities for him in his native Germany – including his current role at Deutsche Kreditbank.

"When you're sitting in a job interview and telling them you studied a master's degree in England, the reaction is always good," he said.

"I would say this course has opened many doors for me in Germany."

Fellow German graduate Christoph Giermann, who studied MA Tourism Destination Management, shared his career journey moving from the tourism industry to working in digital marketing at a newspaper in his home country.

"It was a really nice course and also good practice for working afterwards because of how we had to write reports and our dissertation," he said. "After all, there are no exams in work!

"If I have a project working with colleagues, I have to prepare something to hand in or give a speech about. So it was really helpful for me going into work."

MA Tourism and Administration graduate Corinna Ziesmer, who also came to UCB from Germany, said working with students of many nationalities during her studies had helped prepare her for working in International Operations for German rail company Deutsche Bahn.

"I really liked the international atmosphere at UCB," she said. "We have an international team with people from the UK, from Canada, from Spain – and we're taking part in tenders all over the world."

The reunion at Summer Row was co-ordinated with assistance from UCB's alumni society, UCBeyond, which provides a range of activities and communications to help former students reconnect with the University.

If you are a former student, find out more about our alumni society here. You can also share your career journey with us by filling in our online 'Where are you now?' form.

If you are interested in a career in the tourism or business sectors, UCB offers a variety of college, undergraduate and postgraduate courses to help prepare you for these industries. See our full list of courses at The Business School here, and follow the latest updates from the school on Twitter.

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