Hotels never really sleep, even when the guests are tucked away comfortably in their impeccable suites. And nobody knows the 24/7 routine of the hospitality industry better than Engin Bulut, ’07 Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality.
We caught up with Engin in his latest position at the Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts Bosphorus hotel in Istanbul, Turkey where he is working as the Night Manager. In the seven years since he left Glion, this alumnus has participated in a hotel opening and commenced a steady career climb through operations management.
What makes Glion different?
When asked how and why he chose Glion, Engin categorically speaks of an undeniable feeling, “Any education can prepare someone to work, but the thing that makes Glion different from other schools is the special feeling that it transmits. The difference at Glion was the heart-felt welcoming atmosphere. And the level of quality. Glion taught us how to behave and maintain a professional attitude, in an international environment. During my stay, I had a Chinese roommate and he taught me a lot about their culture and customs. In such an international environment you develop empathy and professional awareness.”
Engin came to Glion from a finance background, as a billing and credit specialist with a BBA from his home country of Turkey. Previously, he also had the opportunity to work in a hotel as a trainee, and that experience motivated him to pursue further education and to reorient his career towards hospitality management. At Glion, Engin entered the Postgraduate Diploma program in Hospitality and tailored his courses to learn more about operations management in preparation for his new career path.
First steps in the industry
Upon completion of the one-year Postgraduate Diploma courses, Engin started an internship, which is how most postgraduate students transition into their new career. “When I finished my two semesters at Glion, I decided to take a new internship. I wanted to improve my French, so I worked in Nice in an Oetker Collection hotel for five months. There, I learned all about hotel operations from A to Z in a luxury hotel environment. After that internship, I came back to Switzerland to receive my Diploma.
One of the nice things about Glion was that many companies came to introduce themselves and we had a chance to get to know the industry. That is how I got the position at the Four Seasons Hotel opening of the Bosphorus in Istanbul in 2008. The most exciting thing for anyone working on a new opening is the opportunity to be part of something special from its inception. There is always a tremendous amount of dedication, belonging and ownership among the opening teams of new hotels.
Following the hotel’s opening, I stayed on for 3 years as a front office supervisor and team leader. In 2011, I received a promotion and a transfer at the same time. It was really difficult, I became the Assistant Front Office Manager position, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beirut. It was a great opportunity to work in the Middle East and to work with a team composed of some 25 nationalities working in the same hotel. For one year I stayed there and then I got the promotion to Night Manager at the Four Seasons in Istanbul,” Engin said.
What exactly does a Night Manager do?
Behind this rather simple title lies a complex operations management position, as Engin explained, “A Night Manager is responsible for managing the operations and activities during the overnight shift and ensuring communications and follow-up with day shift on any problems, guest requests or special requirements. I also monitored the staff activities to assure that standards are being met, staff is being supported, and guest needs are being met. My other main task was taking action in all matters related to the safety, security, satisfaction and well-being of hotel guests and employees.”
From his first Night Manager position at Four Seasons, Engin has since returned to the hotel Bosphorus in Istanbul as a Night Manager and acting Front Office Manager. When asked about what he plans to do next, he speculated, “I’ve been working here for almost 2 years, soon I’ll probably be up for a promotion and a location change, maybe to move to Asia.”
Working for luxury brands
Through his experience with luxury hotel brands, Engin has also learned a lot about the values and competencies it takes to work in the world’s leading hotel chains. “Working in a hotel luxury brand, the competition is very high and we have to provide a service that cannot be taught. We have had many applicants for vacancies, but many applicants don’t have the right approach to service. In that respect, Glion performs a crucial role by teaching this sense of hospitality and rigor to students,” said Engin.
So, next time you see the sun set on a hotel balcony, think of the Night Managers around the world. In this industry that never sleeps, people like Engin are working to ensure that guest expectations are met, no matter what time of the day or night.
To keep up with Engin Bulut, you can find him on Linked in.
For more information about Glion’s Postgraduate Diplomas for career-changers, see the Postgraduate Diploma Program.
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