Greetings to all my Glion mates. It is an honor to be contributing to the blog of my alma mater. I am not one to beat around the bush, so let me hit you with the cold hard truth from the start:

Your degree is worth nothing….unless you keep working hard after graduation. Some may say that goes without saying but you will be surprised at how many fellow graduates think all the money they spent on their education was enough.

Out of Glion I took an 18-month management training programme at the St. Regis in Aspen, Colorado. It was a time of transition in management with a few of my bosses not being aware their predecessors had hired almost nothing but hospitality school graduates with big dreams and very few spots to give to them.

I started as a bellman for 3 months, then followed some time answering the phones and then off to the front desk where I worked myself up to supervisor and duty manager during nights before trying the butler position towards the end of my time. I was also put in charge of developing a mentoring programme to orientate new management trainees when they would arrive.

I had a big competitor for these posts in Jimmy, a guy who would become a great friend although he was both a Swede (we have some kind of Scandinavian rivalry) and a graduate of the Cezar Ritz hotel school. You see, we were both acutely aware that not everyone was going to climb the ladder in the short 18 months we had there, so we needed to make things happen for ourselves while several fellow graduates from both schools spent months upon months only answering the phones and more than once uttering the words: “my family didn´t pay this much for my education for me to be answering telephones!“.

That sort of attitude will get you nowhere. Certainly you need a bit of luck but most successful people have made their own luck by working hard. The biggest difference you will find after graduation is that your existence is no longer catered to you. It is catered to the people who pay your salary, the guests. While you are a student at Glion, you can demand certain things if they are not up to standard. But once you graduate, the cold hard reality dawns on you that the tables have turned. Your employer will be finding ways for you to adjust to his needs and the needs of his customers. And if you do not adjust, you will fail.

Failing is not the end of the world. It´s something you can learn from. And you will learn from it if you have any sense. The deadliest sin you can commit in this business is blaming your mistakes/failures/lack of success on anyone other than yourself! Especially in your first job after graduation. Imagine having graduated from this prestigious hospitality school and your CV says you have spent 18 months afterwards at a first class organisation such as the St. Regis and you don´t have a recommendation to show for it. I would say that devalues your degree immediately by 50% because you have not taken advantage of the tools you were given at Glion.

Jimmy is now the Front Office Manager at the Marriott in Stockholm and I run a small boutique hotel in my hometown of Reykjavík.

So, my best advice to any future, current or even former students at my beloved Glion, is to stay focused and know that the real work begins after graduation. It is challenging, exhausting and sometimes nerve wrecking but it is also hugely rewarding, fun and like no other business. If you are ready to take on that challenge, you are already a success.

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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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