Graduate profile
The Rik Medlik building

Thomas Luo

"I would say the University of Surrey truly combines research with practice at a Masters level."

What attracted you to choose the University of Surrey and to study your course here?

I went to the University of Surrey to further my education for two reasons: firstly, the UK is the first country that gave birth to the modern tourism industry and secondly, the University of Surrey ranked first place in terms of tourism and hospitality industry research in the UK.

What is your strongest memory of your time at Surrey – what do you picture first when you think of being here?

In my view, the strongest memory of my time at Surrey was the first course in Research Methods. The idea of critical thinking was revolutionary to students from China and the idea changed my thoughts forever.

What is the one thing you would say about Surrey, or the course you studied, to someone who doesn’t know anything about it?

I would say the University of Surrey truly combines research with practice at a Masters level.

I still remember the course on ‘Visitor Management’ - the field trip was partnered with Merlin Entertainment, Tower of London and Royal Historical Palaces. The applied research was useful in my latter job seeking process.

How did you change as a person during your time as a Surrey student, and how has your time here influenced your life and career since then?

I can say that my time at the University of Surrey had three implications for me. Firstly, the professional knowledge in the tourism industry, secondly, through my capability to think critically and analyse, and thirdly, through my presentation skills, which are a core competency for professionals in the tourism industry.

Where has your career taken you since leaving Surrey? What do you find most enjoyable about your line of work and why?

I started as a Management Trainee in Shangri-La Hotel & Resorts, and after one year training in all aspects of hotel operations, I changed my career path in 2012 to focus on hotel investment consultancy. I give professional ideas to investors via feasibility studies and improve hotel operation efficiency via spot review reports.

What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?

I believe learning capacity is very important in the consultancy industry. Every detail could be useful to your career.

Is remaining connected with the alumni network important to you? 

Yes, I have established connections with alumni in tourism and the hotel industry. We have a shared education background and speak the same language in terms of professional realm, therefore, the negotiation efficiency has improved dramatically.