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Benoit Amado, ’15 MBA, GM of the Shanghai Disney Resort

The Shanghai Disney Resort is the first Disney theme park in continental China. It will open its doors in spring 2016 and like China, the resort is enormous. Two unique hotels will welcome guests for a total immersion in the Disney world, where the customer experience should be magical, for visitors of all ages. At the helm of the hospitality sector, French Glion alumnus Benoit Amado is in charge of the hotels’ development and management.

Benoit Amado, a 2015 graduate of the MBA in Hospitality and Service Industries Management, has a very interesting life experience. Native of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, he left his country when he was 22 and has been living in China for the last eight years. He speaks the local language and that is a major asset. After following a typical curriculum in a hotel school and earning a higher national diploma in tourism, he chose to leave France in order to expand his career. “Young people often stay in the hospitality sector in France, which is a good option because we have a good heritage,” explains Benoit, “ But travelling and working for foreign companies is so rewarding!” Starting as a waiter in a fine dining restaurant, the young man climbed the career ladder in hospitality to eventually be hired one year ago as General Manager for two hotels – including a five star hotel – in one of the largest entertainment companies in the world.

Choosing Glion Online MBA was essential to his professional development. “I was working for the Accor group in Shanghai. I was looking for a Master in line with my professional needs which would allow me to study while maintaining my job. Then, I learned about the online MBA opportunity. It completely matched my needs, even more since Glion is one of the best hospitality schools in the world, with an incredible reputation.”

“When you are looking for executive functions, it is important to have a master’s degree.”

Benoit benefited from Accor’s partnership with Glion to start this MBA while he kept on working. “I needed this academic content, and this program was really appealing to me. I wanted to deepen my knowledge and put it to direct use.” But the three-year long curriculum was not that easy. “This education requires a high level of commitment and organization. You have to motivate yourself and be disciplined. I kept my job during the whole curriculum so I needed to be really organized. The group project was especially difficult; we were four in the team, from four different countries! The virtual teamwork concept was a real challenge.”

Based on this experience, he recommends Glion’s Online MBA to all those who wish to work in an international setting. “This course offers a great academic quality, completely in line with my needs,” he said, “When you’re looking for executive functions, it is important to have such a degree, it offers you credibility. Having an operational knowledge is useful, but when you work in the management field, you need to know how to handle complex situations. This MBA degree teaches you many aspects: finance, marketing, human resources and what’s more, you are informed of the latest trends.”

Luxury hospitality with a Disney theme: a brand new customer experience

Building on his academic and human experience, Benoit is now in charge of a huge project: to prepare the opening of two unique hotels within the Shanghai Disney Resort, the largest Disney Resort outside of America. The challenge is even more interesting since it implies two quests for excellence: in the tourism field as well as in the entertainment field. “We are a hospitality area within an entertainment company. I’m glad to do something new in terms of customer experience compared to the standard luxury hotels. The idea is to offer unforgettable moments to the families and to completely immerse them in the Disney world.”

The future clients of the Shanghai Disney Resort hotels will indeed live a different customer experience compared to everything they could live elsewhere: “ Our teams are trained to assure the show: even when you work at the hotel front desk here, you are in the show business world. Our teams will thus have a script to follow along with a specific vocabulary to use, in order to develop a world that really immerses clients from the beginning to the end.”

It then offers a special approach, between entertainment and standard tourism, with the hotels gaining a unique environment thanks to the park. With the two hotels combined offering a total of 1,220 rooms, the Shanghai Disney Resort hotels will answer the get away desire of a large customer base with a strong demand. There are already 20 million inhabitants in Shanghai itself! With the opening only a few months away, preparations are well under way and the recruitment procedure will accelerate in the months to come. To those of you who are motivated, Chinese-speaking professionals, do not hesitate to seize the opportunity.

Photo By: Disney

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About the author

Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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