First (and last) impressions count – alumna defines the guest experience in her #firstjob at The Landmark London

On her first day of studies at Glion, BBA student Gemma Herd already knew the role she wanted after graduation. And when you know what you want, the action you need to take becomes so much clearer. In the latest edition of our ‘My First Job’ feature series, Gemma shares how her time at Glion equipped her with the abilities and experience to make it happen.

Name: Gemma Herd
Program: Bachelor (BBA) in International Hospitality Business (Hotel Development & Finance specialization)
Position: Front Office Graduate
Company: The Landmark London
When started: August 2019

A luxury hotel can separate itself from the crowd in a number of ways; location, décor, service, price. But, for the very best hotels, it’s about the entire guest experience, from start to finish.

In her first role after graduating with a Bachelor in International Hospitality Business (Hotel Development & Finance specialization), Glion alumna, Gemma Herd relishes the responsibility of ensuring 5-Star first impressions and lasting memories at The Landmark London.

My responsibility is to provide a seamless arrival and departure experience for our guests, ensuring that their entire stay is above and beyond five star service,” she says.

“As well as being the primary contact for our inhouse guests, my role involves the daily tasks, reporting and billing for reception. It is a physically and mentally challenging job with long hours and a high level of multitasking needed, but I thoroughly enjoy it and one day to the next is never the same.”

 

‘The values of the company align with my own’

Right from the start of her Glion education, Gemma had a clear idea of the job she wanted after graduation and the kind of employer she wanted to work with.

“My current role is similar to what I envisioned as my first job, primarily because the values of the company and my managers’ align with my own. The experience I am gaining from my current job at The Landmark is giving me a very sound base on which to begin my career – I could not have hoped for a more valuable first job.”

Considering a career in luxury hotels? Head ‘over the pond’ from The Landmark, London to The Lowell Hotel, New York and discover the role and responsibilities of 2019 BBA alumnus, Gabriel Barrios.

What Glion did for me

With the hotel’s reputation as her main responsibility, Gemma identified three key lessons from her time at Glion that help her deliver a beyond 5-Star experience for The Landmark London. The first was an understanding of hospitality’s greatest attribute, its diversity, “I made incredible friends from all over the world, and knowing that a familiar face could be found in most parts of the world makes the prospect of traveling even more exciting.”

The multicultural nature of Glion has allowed me to learn and admire the culture of others, giving me a heightened sense of empathy when interacting with my colleagues and guests.”

The second was teamwork, and although it wasn’t always fun, the skills she developed have proved vital for her professional career. “Group projects were not always fun and games, they taught us the importance of collaboration within our hospitality careers and daily lives.”

The ability to ‘hit the ground running’ and add immediate value is a powerful attribute for anyone seeking a job, particularly a graduate, something Gemma highly values. “Glion successfully combined both theoretical and practical learning during our studies ensuring to prepare us for the working world.

“The variety of our program definitely prepared me for the world of work as I felt I had gained knowledge on a wide range of subjects, that I could later pursue depending on my career path.”

 

From a Career Day to the first day of her career

Going beyond a purely academic education, Gemma commented on how Glion strengthened and supported her employability and career prospects after graduation.

“Incorporating internships into our program enabled us to have the practical hands on experience, whilst teaching us the discipline required to maintain a job. Our exposure to industry experts when guest speakers visited our classes allowed us to find out what career paths were open to explore.

“I found the career days both inspiring and motivating, as they gave me a taste of what was out there in the real world. I was very lucky to meet The Landmark London at my final career day and having applied online previously I approached them again.

“After confirmation that I had a visa to work in the UK I was asked to have an interview right there and then. I was incredibly nervous and unprepared but grasped the opportunity, that led to a positive result.

From car manufacturers to property developers, a high-end hospitality skillset is in demand across the luxury sector. Meet Glion BBA graduate, Shihao Xu, who headed to Tokyo and into the luxury watch market with LVMH.

Gemma feels her two professional internships were key to securing her role at The Landmark.

She explains, “My two internships were both front office based further developing my passion for this particular department. These periods of my study helped me to apply my theory-based learning to the world of work; but most importantly they taught me lessons I could never learn from books, for each guest approached me with a different question or need.”

With an unwavering passion for hotels, Gemma’s long-term goal is to open a boutique venture of her own. In the short-term, her next move is to gain experience in VIP relations to further develop her knowledge of 5-Star service.

“I would advise students to look for a job in a place/city that will make you genuinely happy, as I have found my life – work balance to be very important in settling into my first job. Always look for an organization that has similar values to your own, as I have found that this encourages me to go above and beyond for the company. And never shy away from an operational position.”

 

From hotels and finance to watches and sustainability, discover more ‘First Job’ stories:

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My First Job #8: Tamara Enzler

For the latest in our feature series allowing recent graduates to showcase their first jobs after leaving Glion, we spoke to BBA graduate Tamara Enzler, who’s found the secret of her success through internships…

Name: Tamara Enzler
Program: Bachelor (BBA) in International Hospitality Business (International Event Management specialization)
Position: Associate, Global Events
Company: World Business Council for Sustainable Development
When started: January 2020

“They are the best memories I have of my time at Glion; and the things I value most in job interviews.”

Internships. For Glion Bachelor students they are an essential part of the study mix. And Tamara Enzler is living proof of the career benefits they can bring about.

In fact, Tamara can cite three examples of the ‘internship effect’ – the first of them before she even arrived on campus. “Before Glion, I was able to do an operational internship in all departments in a hotel; this gave me an idea of the industry I was going into. I therefore decided that for my Glion internships I wanted to do both of them in the events industry,” she says.
Her first internship took Tamara to New York City, to work at David Monn, a successful luxury events agency catering to the top tier of the city’s society.

“It showed me how much goes into an event of that magnitude and that you need to be passionate about it in order to succeed,” she says. “I was part of the design team: hands-on work, creating decor, running around the city, setting up and dismantling the events. This internship really gave me the feeling that, as the saying goes, ‘if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere’. I really do believe that. Long and hard hours paid off when you saw the delighted faces of your clients.

Tamara loved New York so much that she went back to the city for her second internship; this time in the entertainment department at BMF Media.

She explains, “This was a good ‘step up’ from the first internship as it was more of an ‘office job’ – research, contacting people and negotiating prices. These two internships were really the best times I had during my Glion studies and it changed me as a person. I grew out of my shyness and become an adult and a professional. They helped to build my career path and showed me the different sectors within the events industry.

“All the small tasks I did built up to what I am doing now in my job. And most importantly, that details make everything. I was already a perfectionist and a maniac for the details – but even more now!”

To further immerse herself in the world of events management, Tamara opted for the International Event Management specialization during her final semester of Bachelor studies. Led by the vastly-experienced Giovanni Manfredini, this specialization teaches students how to “run the business behind the show”.

Immersed in global events

Now a graduate alumna, Tamara has taken her first job with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), based in Geneva. As it happens, this also began with an internship, which then transformed into an Associate role at the beginning of this year.

“As part of the Global Events team, I am responsible for the logistics of our events. Under normal circumstances, we have two main annual meetings, plus several smaller events which are side events to other organisations’ ones – for example WEF’s annual meeting in Davos, HLPF and UNGA in New York and IUCN in Marseille,” she says.

“However, the current pandemic situation has, of course, impacted the events industry hugely, and many events worldwide are being cancelled, postponed or moved to digital/virtual platforms. This is also the case with our upcoming meetings. So as a team we’ve been required to think out of the box for new and innovative ways to bring our content to members via digital means, while still keeping it as professional as possible.

“It also brings legal and contractual questions regarding the venues and suppliers we have booked for the events. Therefore, a lot of negotiating is going on as well.”

The ‘business as usual’ elements of Tamara’s role vary depending on which events are in the pipeline. They include checking registration status, responding to email enquiries in the events inbox, venue sourcing, negotiating contracts, budgeting, day-to-day contact with venues for logistics in the run-up to the event, brainstorming and researching new, innovative and engaging ways for delegates to participate. There’s also a constant quest to improve events with each edition.

Tamara regards her role as the logical extension of her internships, as she now sees the entire logistical management lifecycle of an event from A to Z, but also has a glimpse of the actual event content too. Plus the WBCSD’s focus on conferences has introduced her to this side of the events industry, which is useful career knowledge.

Tips for final semester students

And what of Tamara’s advice to current Glion students now mulling their own first job options?

I would recommend keeping an Excel spreadsheet to track your applications, especially if you apply to a lot of jobs… I’ve applied to roughly 250 positions! Your spreadsheet should include things like when you sent your application out and by which means; did you receive an answer, was it positive or negative, and what are the next steps,” she says.

“And don’t worry; it’s OK if you don’t find a job straight after graduation. It is good to take some time off, to rest before powering through and giving everything you have in your first job.”

If you missed them, take a look at some of the other recent features in this series:

Take the next step

Do you have a specific query you would like to ask us? Please fill in the contact form below and let us know the nature of your
enquiry, and a member of our team will respond to you as soon as possible.

The post My First Job #8: Tamara Enzler appeared first on Glion.