In the next instalment of our Alumni Spotlight series, we speak to University of Limerick graduate Ernesto Batista Sánchez, who studied the MA in International Tourism at Kemmy Business School. Currently undertaking his PhD at KBS, Ernesto shares how his time at UL sparked wonderful friendships and memories and prepared him for a meaningful career in the tourism industry.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Ernesto Batista Sánchez, and I am originally from Holguín, a northeast province of Cuba.
What course did you study, and what year did you graduate?
I did an MA in International Tourism in KBS. I started in September 2019 and graduated in 2020.
Why did you choose to study at UL?
First, I was impressed with the school's strong reputation for academic excellence. UL is consistently ranked among the top universities in Ireland and has a long history of producing successful graduates. Second, I was drawn to UL's international focus – the school has a diverse student body and offers a wide range of study abroad programmes. Third, I was interested in UL's commitment to student success – the school provides a variety of support services to help students succeed in their studies.
Specifically, I was drawn to the Kemmy Business School's strong reputation for providing a high-quality education that is relevant to the needs of businesses in the 21st century. I was also impressed with the school's focus on innovation and entrepreneurship; I believe that these qualities will be essential for my success in the business world.
What were the highlights of your course?
For me, the MA in International Tourism at UL deepened my industry and business knowledge and enhanced my own reflections and critical-thinking skills in international tourism. I developed a more applied and global perspective on key industry practices and trends, which has helped advance my career readiness. The postgraduate study environment was enjoyable, interactive, and supportive, particularly in terms of learning from classmates, access to faculty, and listening to speakers from the industry. The MA not only widened my career prospects but also provided me with additional professional skills and a network that accelerated my career possibilities.
Tell us about your experience at Kemmy Business School.
I had the privilege of learning from some of the most esteemed academic minds in the field. The professors were not merely experts in their respective areas, but also passionate educators dedicated to their students' success. They readily answered questions, provided invaluable guidance, and encouraged us to think critically and challenge conventional wisdom. Apart from the exceptional faculty, KBS boasts state-of-the-art facilities that foster a cutting-edge learning environment. The school offers a variety of well-equipped classrooms, lecture halls, and computer labs, ensuring students have access to the latest technology.
What advice would you offer to students who are new to UL?
I would advise them to immerse themselves fully in the programme, extending beyond the classroom; to embrace the wealth of resources and support available. Actively participate in guest lectures and workshops and seek guidance from professors and industry experts. Moreover, capitalise on practical learning opportunities, whether embarking on field trips or collaborating on projects, to bridge the gap between theory and practice. Finally, nurture self-reflection and personal growth by setting realistic goals, effectively managing your time, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. By embracing the full spectrum of the programme and cultivating self-awareness, you will position yourself for success in the competitive international tourism landscape.
Were you a member of any clubs or societies? If so, tell us about your experience!
I was part of the International Society in UL, where I had the opportunity to meet people from different places and cultures. Enrolling in the activities organised by this society, I made fantastic friends during my time in UL. I was also enrolled in the Outdoor Pursuits Club, where we engaged in hiking around Ireland and other outdoor activities including rock wall-climbing.
What are some of your favourite memories from your time at UL?
My time at UL was filled with cherished memories, many of which revolve around the friendships I forged. The camaraderie I experienced within my student clubs and organisations was particularly formative, providing a welcoming space for me to connect with like-minded individuals from diverse backgrounds. Beyond the confines of formal groups, I found friendships blossoming in the most unexpected corners of the campus, often sparked by chance encounters or shared experiences. These friendships were not merely sources of enjoyment and companionship; they were also catalysts for personal growth. My friends challenged me to expand my horizons, consider new perspectives, and step outside my comfort zone. They encouraged me to pursue my passions, supported me through setbacks, and celebrated my successes with genuine enthusiasm.
Are there any campus locations that hold special significance to you?
UL campus is a beautiful place. The Living Bridge is one of the most scenic places of the campus, especially early in the morning. It is one of the most peaceful places I have been in my life. The meandering Shannon River, a lifeline to the campus, serves as a constant reminder of the harmony between nature and human ingenuity. The verdant walking trails that trace the riverbank offer a welcome respite from the bustle of academic life, inviting students to embark on a journey of tranquillity and self-discovery. The Living Bridge, in its tranquil embrace, becomes a catalyst for personal reflection and growth, a place where students can reconnect with their inner selves and find inspiration amidst the beauty of nature.
How did your course and overall UL experience prepare you for entering the workplace upon graduating?
For me, pursuing an MA in International Tourism at UL deepened my industry and business knowledge and enhanced my own reflections and critical-thinking skills around international tourism. I developed a more applied and global perspective on key industry practices and trends. This has helped advance my career readiness. Additionally, developing this knowledge and these skills provided me with an incredible opportunity to work in the private sector (big and small/micro businesses) or public sector.
Could you update us on where you are now in your career?
With the new skills and knowledge obtained from the MA in International Tourism, I was eligible to progress to a PhD programme in KBS, where my research focuses on the role of new technologies and sustainability to enhance the visitor experience at the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare.
What are your future hopes and plans?
Looking ahead, my broader career aspirations involve making meaningful contributions to the sustainable development of tourism, potentially bridging academia and industry to implement innovative and responsible practices. I aim to continue exploring ways to improve the intersection of technology and sustainability in the tourism sector, contributing to both academic discourse and practical applications.
In the long term, I envision a career that allows me to shape and influence the tourism industry positively, whether through research, policy advocacy, or direct involvement in sustainable tourism initiatives. I am committed to fostering responsible tourism practices that balance economic growth with environmental conservation and cultural preservation.
At UL Postgraduate Students Union Postgrad Week
On Graduation Day with classmates
At scholarship presentation of PhD project research at the Cliffs of Moher Experience