Yasir Khan is a business development manager for Al Sayyad Travel & Tourism in Dubai.
What attracted you to choose Surrey and to study your course here?
Five times number one in the Guardian rankings for hospitality and tourism is a good enough reason to join such a prestigious institute.
I did a little research of my own before enrolling on the MSc Tourism Management programme and at the end found that I gained a lot more then I initially anticipated.
What is your strongest memory of your time at Surrey – what do you picture first when you think of being here?
A multicultural environment, with students from all parts of the world, the beautiful state-of-the-art campus, the lake, the leisure facilities, the library and the student suppor. The cherry on top was the field visit with Visit Britain to castles and Brighton Pier.
What is the one thing you would say about Surrey and the course you studied, to someone who doesn’t know anything about it?
If you want to be tourism professional, the University of Surrey is the place to be.
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 often say to my employers, colleagues and customers, "what is the definition of 'tourist'”? It’s funny no one can actually define it, perhaps not even the reader of this interview. This is the difference Surrey made, I can proudly say if it was not because of Surrey I would not be where I am today.
What do you find most enjoyable about your line of work and why?
I work in travel and tourism, the world’s second largest industry, with very high and quick career progression for those willing to put in that extra effort. Every day there is a new challenge, a new request, a new client. All this keeps me on my toes and up-to-date with what is going around in the world of tourism and hospitality. I have always been a very social and friendly person and this field does make it easy. The best part is that although I had knowledge about tourism before I joined Surrey, after I graduated it added that 'X factor' that was missing before.
What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession?
Travel and tourism are not a luxury any more. We travel to work, we visit our friends and relatives, we go for shopping trips and we go on holidays; all this is actually travel and tourism. If anyone wants to join this profession they need to understand this; I realized this while studying at Surrey.
Is remaining connected with the alumni network important to you?
Yes, there are more than 200 top universities in the world and Surrey is one of them. The association is not only important in terms of being old students, it also gives a sense of identity just like your passport does. Moreover, the network can always be helpful in terms of connections, networks, events and discounts.