Get to know the Grads – Part 2 – Sarah

Sarah
Sarah

Brief introduction of yourself

Sarah here – a talkative northerner from Southport near Liverpool. I graduated from my first degree (Geography at Durham) way back in 2008. I then did an MSc in Earth Sciences. I love sport, food and travelling J

What did you do before TUI (University, previous work experience etc.)?

I spent 20 months or so working between my masters and TUI, contracting as a Research Associate in Volcanic Health Hazards for different members of the International Volcanic Health Hazards Network. Yes I worked on Iceland, no I couldn’t go (although I did get several trips to both Japan and Italy)! Mostly, I worked on ash, gas and mineral dusts – examining asthma and lung cancer risks from long-term exposure.

Between contracts, I went travelling for a few months at a time which took me to New Zealand, Thailand, Central America, Morocco and Egypt. I went back to Egypt to work as a Dive Guide for 3 months for a while too.

How did you find TUI and why did you apply?

After travelling to 10 countries and living in 4 different cities in the UK – all in a little over a year and a half I decided it was time to ‘settle down’. It seemed there were 2 common themes in my life – volcanoes and travelling – I chose to focus on looking for jobs in the latter and found the TUI UK grad scheme through the website of one of our specialist brands, Imaginative Traveller. As well as travel jobs I had also been looking at Graduate schemes as I liked the idea of fast development and progression – TUI UK gave me the perfect combination of the two.

Where are you working? How are you finding it?

I am just about to finish my 1st placement in Purchasing, which is the team that negotiates with our hotels. I have been helping with background research for negotiations, monitoring the KPIs for the long-haul team over our key trading period and will present back to the managers with a review of the targeting and negotiation model that we use. It’s not all data analysis though, I spent my first week at a World Travel Market in London (more about that later!), have been on a 4 day Purchasing Conference in Egypt and spent a few days in Palma, Majorca for contracting meetings. I am ashamed to admit that I missed the flight to Majorca, (my first business trip abroad – good work) as I left my passport in a taxi! Thankfully, I managed to catch a plane a few hours later and didn’t miss anything but I will never live that down… especially after a coach ‘mix-up’ on a few occasions in Egypt!

 Most exciting or challenging thing you have done so far?

My very first day on my first placement. I was shadowing the Tourist Board teams, my managers and the negotiators for a week around the World Travel Market in London (a huge gathering of all the Tourist Boards, hoteliers and large Tour Operators from all over the world). In the afternoon of my very first day I found myself sitting in a meeting with the Tourism Minister and other the senior cabinet members from Barbados on one side and Johan Lundgren (the Deputy Chief Executive of all of TUI Group mainstream businesses across Europe) and Dave Burling (the MD of TUI UK&I) on the other! Next, I went to Jamaica (the stand rather than the country!) and bumped into Miss World!

 What are your interests outside of work?

Travelling whenever and wherever I can – I am known for always being away. I am a water-baby – mostly swimming, water polo, rowing, Scuba diving, all of which I have been heavily committed to at one stage or another. Now I’m focussing on Open Water Swimming…. Although it’s on hold until the summer for now! I can’t sit still so when I’m not training, I’m meeting up with friends.

 Tell us something weird/different/interesting about yourself

When I was an army cadet, myself and some others tied a member of the public to a tree at ‘gun point’ (obv. not loaded!) because we mistook him for the ‘enemy’ we were tasked with finding.

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