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Chris Thompson

Where are you doing now?

I run an independent tour operator specialising in family skiing holidays. I bought in to the business ten years ago when the founder was retiring (I had previously worked for the firm as a "ski bum" after graduating!). Last Autumn we sold the business to one of the ski industry's best-known entrepreneurs and investors. For me this move was very much about staying with the business and driving further growth.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals / give your career an edge?

It gave me a great grounding in practical business skills and made me confident that the travel industry was the right long-term choice for me.

What was the best thing about your course?

Most of the lecturers were people who had worked in travel and had recent hands-on experience of different aspects of this diverse industry. This was very refreshing having come from a fairly academic and traditional first degree.

Who inspired you the most, and why?

My tutor was a guy called Ray Hopper. He easily communicated his enthusiasm and experience to everyone on the course. From memory he had a bit of a portfolio career that included teaching and commercial work; this further enhanced my view that travel could be a diverse and flexible industry in which to work.

Which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now/throughout your career?

A few areas stick out, financial analysis skills learnt have been hugely useful as has the practical and focused approach to marketing that was taught. Overall I became a lot more analytical and organised in the way I worked and thought.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

Having done my first degree at Newcastle University it enabled me to stay in the North East, an area I still miss having long ago returned to my southern roots. I also enjoyed having a real mix of backgrounds and nationalities on my course. It definitely added to the experience.

What advice would you give somebody who is thinking of studying at Northumbria?

It's a great place to study with a superb team that will open up diverse opportunities. It's also a fabulous city to be based in with some of the country's best open spaces on your doorstep.

How would you describe your time at Northumbria in 3 words?

A great start!

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