Welcome are the occasions when the senior students of a school are given opportunities to perform the role of resource persons and are invited to formally address their fellow students to give them first-hand and fresh advice about careers or about the latest happenings in the industry in general.
Upasana Arora, a bright student of the 2017/20 BHM Batch who, apart from excelling in academics was also a very enthusiastic participant in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, sports, debates and cultural programmes, succeeded in securing the coveted position of a management trainee with the Oberoi Hotels which made her the first student ever of the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School to have achieved such a position, usually longed-for and envied by most of the students. This was her personal ambition for which she refused similar offers made by other international hotel chains.
“Perseverance, determination and hard work are the three important components essential for achieving success in any field and, hospitality being a discipline in which these qualities are required in their most formidable aspect, should be inculcated and deeply embedded in all students.” She said in her opening statement.
“Managers interviewing the candidates are not descendants from the heavens, they are normal human beings and, by virtue of their profound experience, knowledge and understanding of the trade, are empowered to be part of the interview panel”, she said while clarifying the fact that an interview is not a process in which candidates are fleeced, it is just a systematic method of getting to know the candidates better. “Just like the best hotels of the world are not necessarily the best looking hotels of the world, the people who are part of the hospitality trade are smart, clever, enthusiastic and fervently passionate about their will to please the customers, rather than being merely handsome and beautiful mannequins adorning the hotel.
While giving a few more useful tips, Upasana said the primary and the foremost quality that a hospitality career aspirant must definitely develop within himself is the art of effective communication, which, besides creating a first impression, also stands to be a medium by which the interviewers can gauge the delicacy, the finesse and the diplomacy that the incumbent possesses. A strong, smooth and an uninterrupted communication can cover up several shortcomings and inadequacies in a candidate. “The style, the elegance and the self-confidence by which you are able to express yourself are considered as far more important aspects than your ability to know by heart the different formulae applied in the various hotel operations” says Upasana with a smile.
“Be that as it may”, continues Upasana, “Another important aspect, especially concerned with hotels is that its staff members must present themselves as pleasing personalities, for which, grooming as per the laid down standards should be adhered to in all circumstances. That being the norm, the students appearing for interviews have no other choice but to be immaculately, neatly dressed and very well groomed.
“In the same way in which it becomes essential for a person to learn as much as possible about the destination that he/she proposes to visit, it becomes necessary that one conducts a profound research about the background of the hotel company, and tries to accumulate information about its positioning, its various segments, the types of hotels, their locations, categories of accommodation food and beverage outlets, conferencing and convention facilities, even that of the competing hotels. That is what will reveal to the interviewer the depth of information that one possesses and the amount of interest that one has devoted to be worthy of being offered a position.
Between the time at which the students commence their journey of learning hotel management and the time by which they are ready for placements, a period of 3 to 4 years goes by, during the passage of which, the students tend to forget the basics which they learnt during their initial Semesters. The students must therefore come to terms with the fact that these basics usually form part of the questions asked by the interviewers. So it is essential that one brushes them up as a top-of-the-mind, readily available data.
“Hoteliers are supposed to be smart and well-informed people for which it becomes essential for them to keep themselves abreast of the latest happenings in the world and that can come only by way of frequently tuning into news channels like CNN, BBC, FOX News etc., and, of course to the domestic news channels. This has to be supplemented by the regular and deep study of newspapers, magazines and journals.” Says Upasana.
Internships are ready-made platforms, offering lucrative opportunities for the students to network with the regular staff from whom they can get useful information about the way the placement interviews are conducted in that company and the type of questions that are usually asked by the panelists. Furthermore, it is always advantageous to have a close familiarity with the numerals, which will always come to you help, especially at the time when technical questions are addressed to you. “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want” answered Upasana to a question by a student who was inquisitive whether to appear only for select companies or for all of them… The students attending the webinar were very appreciative of this one-of-a-kind, special webinar and wanted more of such activities, in which they are at ease with the resource person.