Ross Cook, alumnus, BA (Hons) Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
How our global contacts, reputation and placement opportunities have helped one globe-trotting student move closer to the ethical tourism career he dreams of
From an early age, Ross Bennett-Cook had a huge desire to travel so, when it came to choosing a degree, it was perhaps inevitable that he would enrol on a course linked to his biggest passion.
“I wanted a degree that would provide me with the skills I needed to work in an industry where seeing the world would be part of my career,” says Ross. “Then a teacher at my college recommended LSBU. That meant a lot, as they not only worked in education themselves, but they were also a travel industry professional.”
Once Ross started looking at the degrees we offer, one course stood out as a clear favourite for him – BA (Hons) Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management. “The course content really appealed to me,” says Ross, “especially modules such as Marketing and Tourism to Less Developed Countries.”
Overseas work placement
Central to Ross’ decision-making was the chance to spend a work placement overseas, and he is extremely grateful for the opportunity to undertake a field trip to Barcelona as part of his studies. “It was one of the most memorable parts of the course,” he says fondly. “The class had a great relationship, and travelling overseas together was a great way to learn about destination marketing as well as having lots of fun.”
Ross’ overseas trips did not end there, however. “I was able to spend six months working in Palma de Mallorca for Thomas Cook on placement,” he says. “I secured the placement through LSBU’s relationship with the tour operator, who had come into the university specifically to recruit LSBU students.”
Stepping stone into industry
Ross credits his time working for Thomas Cook as an excellent addition to his CV. “I gained valuable experience in organisation, time management, and presenting skills,” he says. “Working for an internationally renowned tour operator has been something employers have regularly been impressed by."
My placement was a great stepping stone into the industry, and shows recruiters that my time at LSBU saw me acquire first-hand industry experience as well as an education.
Ross’ commitment to getting practical experience under his belt is currently working to LSBU’s advantage as well as his own. After graduating from his undergraduate degree, he is undertaking an internship at our Regional Centre of Expertise, a United Nations network with the aim of promoting sustainability. “I’m helping to organise seminars and conferences, and keeping up to date with a global group of sustainability centres,” he says. “It’s a role that relates well to my degree and my future career goals.”
The next stop on Ross’ journey is a Master’s degree. “I’ve applied to the MSc International Tourism and Hospitality Management at LSBU, and to a few universities abroad,” he says of his next move. “After that, I intend to become a pioneer in the movement towards culturally sustainable and responsible tourism, leading the way towards an industry that is ethical, fair, and a positive experience for both travellers and the people and places they visit.”
Overseas placement opportunities
His advice to anyone considering following in his footsteps with a Tourism degree from LSBU is to make the most of our superb industry links. “London is one of the world’s most-visited tourist destinations,” he says. “Studying right in the heart of the city will give you excellent links to potential employers both during your degree and afterwards. LSBU also gives you a great platform to gain international experience due to the combination of the overseas placement opportunities and the fact that the university is home to students from all over the world.”
Find out more about studying BA (Hons) Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management.