Sergio Leandro is the Hotel Manager at Le Méridien Piccadilly in London. Prior to this, he was the youngest appointed revenue manager in Starwood Hotels & Resorts and was awarded the President’s award within the group when in his first year as Director of Rooms Division at the Sheraton Algarve.
Why did you choose to study at Surrey?
Once I was in the position to search and select a university, it became clear to me that I would like to gain overseas academic experience. Therefore, I researched the market and Surrey was one of the leading European institutions already at that time. Once I looked into more detailed information about Surrey, the philosophy and the proposed balance between practical and strategic management sounded innovative and relevant for me. I chose the International Hotel and Tourism Management degree because of its broad appeal and due to the fact that I knew I would like an international perspective on my learnings so that I can adapt them anywhere I went thereafter.
How has your degree helped in your career?
More so than my degree, I would say that it was the entire academic experience at Surrey that helped me in my career and personal development. It was, in many ways, an eye- opening collection of experiences; an unrivalled opportunity to have met and befriended people from various cultural and geographical backgrounds; all within a beautiful, charming and safe environment – campus.
What is your career highlight so far?
I have been fortunate enough to have had a steady evolution in my career, marked by several achievements and many opportunities to grow as a professional and as a person. I was the youngest appointed revenue manager in Starwood Hotels & Resorts and was awarded the President’s award within the group when in my first year as Director of Rooms Division at the Sheraton Algarve, and have had the opportunity to travel the world and meet many different persons and cultures. I was thrilled to have been appointed Hotel Manager at the Le Méridien Piccadilly in London and looking back I think it justifiably qualifies as my “chosen highlight” thus far.
What do you think of when you picture Surrey?
I have many memories of my time at Surrey and it is quite difficult to elect one. I think it would have to be my graduation day at the Cathedral, where with a mix of emotions I realized just how attached I had grown to Surrey.
What advice would you give to students?
The best possible advice I could give to students at Surrey is quite simply to make full use of their time there. It can be such an enriching experience from both personal and career-development viewpoints, but it always depend on how committed you are to the time and opportunities you get while you are there.
Is remaining connected with the alumni network important to you?
Remaining connected is something that nowadays is almost part of our everyday lives. As such, connecting back to the Surrey alumni is something that is of great value, particularly as they may lead to fostering important business relations or indeed to find out about former colleagues and how they have developed over the years.