In this interview, Claudia Casas, a 4th-year student of the Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management, tells us about her internship experience at the international luxury Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group.
How did you get the opportunity to work at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona?
The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi helped me get an internship at Hotel Mandarin the third year of my bachelor’s studies. I was sure I wanted to work in human resources, and at my meeting with HTSI’s Professional Advisors department—which guides you through the whole process—I told them what department I was interested in and that I wanted to train with an Asian company.
The School helped me get an interview with the Director of Human Resources of Mandarin Oriental Barcelona, and I interned there for 7 months.
What stands out to you about HTSI?
Besides all the contacts they have in the tourism and hospitality sector, I’d emphasize the constant support they give students.
From Barcelona to Hong Kong. How did you make the transition?
I’ve studied Chinese for years, and I really like Asian culture. I loved my experience at Hotel Mandarin Barcelona: it’s like one big family, and they treated me really well.
Plus, like in Asian culture in general, the company really values loyalty. Thanks to my performance in Barcelona, I got a chance to intern in Hong Kong my 4th year of the Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism.
What was your day-to-day at the hotel like?
I got management training for rooms. In other words, I worked in the housekeeping department, in the front office, in reservations and with the concierge, and I got a look at what they all do.
Really, I want to focus on human resources, but I know that to be a good hotel director, I kneed to know what exactly “rooms” is. The only way I could experience it was as a trainer.
What stood out to you about your experience at Landmark Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong?
They have a really different way of working. They have a cult-like dedication to work, and it’s really useful to learn about it and be aware of it when you come back to Europe. If you want to get far, you have to work a lot of hours.
I was struck by the number of hours I had to work and the hard work I had to do, along with the language issue. Although I had to know English, most guests were Chinese, so I had to use plenty of Chinese. It really helped me improve my language skills.
What are your plans for when you graduate from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Sant Ignasi?
I’ll probably get my master’s degree in human resources in China. That’ll help me get a visa so I can stay and work there afterwards.
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