Welcome to 60 Second Interviews. Here you can find out all you need to know about some of the business travel industry’s most successful buyers, suppliers, and practitioners in just one minute.
Outgoing ITM Chairman, Mark Cuschieri, has worked in the corporate travel industry for 28 years and is responsible for the overall strategic management of the global travel programme within UBS. Prior to joining UBS in 2007, Mark held a number of positions within the TMC organisations; Egencia and American Express GBT.
Name: Mark Cuschieri
Position: Global Travel Lead
Member of ITM Board: 7 years
Hobbies: Golf, well, I try to.
One Interesting fact about yourself: For those young enough to remember... it's my claim to fame! I found myself in the middle of a 'Shakin Stevens' pop video without realising it as I was skipping a college lecture.
How did you get into the business travel industry?
I studied for a 2 year Business Diploma in Travel & Tourism at the College for the Distributive Trades (which is now the site of Capital Radio in Leicester Square). After graduating, I was offered a place on the American Express trainee scheme, a 12 month training program based in Brighton with numerous work placements across each AmEx function, such as Card, FC, Business, and Retail Travel.
Fortunately, I was offered a permanent place in one of AmEx's corporate travel implants as a Business Reservation Consultant (I still remember writing manual air tickets!).
What does your role involve?
As UBS is a firm with offices in over 50 countries, I am continually looking to develop and enhance our travel programme. With over 60,000 employees, it's much easier said than done.
A significant part of my role is acting as an internal "marketer" engaging with numerous stakeholders, budget-holders, and "road-warriors to sell the benefits of our programme, and listening to how we can best deliver a travel programme that meets needs of the business, and more importantly, our travellers.
What are you working on at the moment?
We're currently working on our digital strategy, several RFP's, and are looking at ways we can simplify our programme. We're developing/implementing tools that will hopefully simplify the whole process of travel, future proofs, and that helps prepare for the ever changing market place.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a career in business travel?
If you're looking for a career that incorporates travel, business, and customer relations, then our industry is a great option; it's a people industry. There is an abundance of support available to you, so be willing to try different things, be flexible, and never be afraid to make a mistake. We have all made them, even the most senior leaders in our industry. Just make sure you learn from them.
The corporate travel industry is a massive one, and there are plenty of opportunities out there for people with the right set of skills. It's less about technical skills, and more about the ability to communicate effectively and a passion for service is key.
Quick Fire Questions
1. What do you enjoy most about your role?
No two days are the same, the variety and the challenge.
2. What frustrates you about the business travel industry?
Unnecessary complexity still exists, and there are too many who are adverse to change.
3. Where’s your favourite destination?
Seychelles; a beautiful picture-perfect island.
4. If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you take with you?
A fully stocked 100ft yacht, sun cream and "stuff", because you can always find what you need in "stuff".
5. If I had that magic wand and could change one single thing, what would it be?
I would spread acceptance around the world. If more people were willing to accept others for who they are, for what they are, and they choices they made, then I think our world would be a much better place.