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Internships have provided a wonderful learning opportunity for Les Roches Student Ambassador Minjeong Kim, who sampled two amazing cities while building her Chinese language skills. Here she describes her experiences working in Shanghai and Hong Kong.
I am now in the seventh and final semester of my Bachelor’s (BBA) program in Les Roches Bluche, Switzerland. I initially studied at Les Roches Jin Jiang (LRJJ) International Hospitality Management College in Shanghai, China, as a freshman. After I achieved my Diploma from LRJJ, I transferred to Les Roches in Switzerland to complete my Bachelor’s degree.
All Les Roches BBA students have the opportunity to complete two industry internships – the first takes place during our second semester and the final one during the fifth semester. As I was a student in LRJJ from my first to fourth semesters, I had the opportunity to take my first internship in China, since I had easy access to a Chinese visa.
In LRJJ, the school holds a Career Day every semester, the same as happens in Switzerland. I visited our Careers Department (CDIP) to check my CV and cover letter to make sure they were written in a proper way. During Career Day itself, I had several interviews with international hotels in China and from other countries.
Moreover, aside from Career Day, I collected the email addresses of hotels in Shanghai from our CDIP and from seniors. Among these emails, I prioritized several hotels based on my preferences. Then I sent my CV and cover letter to each of them.
Through these efforts, I received a few offers from Shanghai, and my choice was Hyatt on the Bund, which is a 5* hotel trading under the Grand Hyatt brand. They promised to teach me all the front office tasks like a regular receptionist, while I could live in a hotel room with laundry service and have a complimentary buffet meal each day. Thus, I recognized that this offer might be a good opportunity.
Fortunately, one of the managers was Korean like me, so she took me under her wing and taught me everything from the basic knowledge of hotel and front office tasks. Through this internship, I firstly learned how to do check-in, out and in room check-in, check reservations, assign rooms based on guests’ preferences, close my accounts and deal with guests’ complaints.
After one-to-two months, I mostly became independent in doing those tasks, with the only issue being the language barrier. Even though I had learned Chinese since arriving at LRJJ, it was still too basic for me to speak Chinese in the workplace. Therefore, I had to ask for a lot of help from my Chinese colleagues. By doing this, they taught me how to speak Chinese properly in front of guests, while I learned useful Chinese words as well.
My second internship was in Hong Kong’s Marco Polo Gateway hotel, working as a front office trainee in the hotel’s Club Lounge. As Hong Kong is considered one of the world’s leading financial, trading and shopping centers, I expected that my working experience in Hong Kong would offer wonderful opportunities, while I would also be able to communicate with multi-cultural people and broaden my view of world.
When I received lists of Hong Kong hotels from my seniors, I applied for the role of club lounge receptionist and had interviews with a few hotels. Among these, Marco Polo Gateway hotel was the only hotel which offered a club lounge officer position; plus it is located in Tsim Sha Tsui, which is one of the most popular shopping and nightlife districts.
As with my first internship, the hotel provided me with fantastic benefits, such as accommodation, laundry service, use of facilities, and so on. When I started my work in Marco Polo Gateway, the hotel’s Human Resource department introduced me to the company management team and took me on a guided hotel tour.
During this internship, my manager taught me to be flexible in front office and food and beverage (F&B) tasks. I mainly concentrated on the F&B part in first three months, so I could prepare cocktail buffets and tea buffets independently with one supervisor. After I clarified the routine of the Club Lounge, the manager let me learn how to prepare VIP welcome letters and how to check reservations against guest preferences. Accordingly, the team gave me an opportunity to be independent during check-in and out processes.
For the last month of my internship, I requested to go down to reception and experience a housekeeping job. Overall, it was absolutely a beneficial experience to my career path.
Minjeong Kim, BBA7 Student Ambassador
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