An interview with Michael Levie, co-founder and COO of citizenM, to find out what he’s looking for in future talent for his company. By Andrei R. Nedelcu, a Student Ambassador of the Bachelor Degree in Hospitality Management at Glion.

When asked what motivated him to pursue a career in hospitality management, Michael Levie, Dutch co-founder and COO of citizenM, gave a reply that resonates with many hospitality management students: hospitality was his dream. He said, “Since attending the opening of the Amsterdam Sonesta hotel when I was 12, I knew this was my business and my passion.”

From the sleek, colorful design of their webpage, one can see that citizenM is a very cool brand, and it’s coming up fast with competitively priced luxury hotels in such cosmopolitan cities such as London, Paris, New York and Amsterdam and more. According to Michael, “citizenM offers affordable luxury for cost conscious travelers. While offering limited services to our target audience it appears to them as full service, citizenM offers the ideal environment which matches their lifestyle.”

As a career option, this type of medium-sized, cutting-edge hospitality company offers the enticing vision of seeing one’s career progress rapidly and offering room to grow in evolving sectors. Its an idea that Michael confirmed. When asked about the career environment at citizenM, he replied that “citizenM has a specific culture and work environment, where the specialists and talented feel they are a part of the organization, they contribute and together we get recognized for what we do. Our joint culture provides stability and energy to excel.”

To prepare students to meet the needs of the fast-moving hospitality industry, Glion integrates applied learning, internships, cultural courses and general business into the hospitality management curriculum. Together, these educational components support student growth in one key area: soft skills, or the ability to work well alone and in a team, in any organization. “There are many different companies with different needs, so for everyone there is a company and a spot to contribute. But caring for people and being genuinely nice are the base qualities to success”, says Michael. And for the citizenM brand: “At the hotels, we look for warm smiles and a white heart. At the support office, we seek specialists who are “best of class” with specific experience.”

When describing the defining aspects of the citizenM brand, Levie says it is about “Human experiences vs. personalized and scripted service. citizenM started with the guest experience at the heart of all we have created and encourages individuals to meet individuals.” And he doesn’t really see the brand changing in the next few years, just growing.

At Glion, we see the career prospects changing and growing simultaneously, and we go on internships and as graduates with an outlook of optimism, innovation and passion for this amazing industry.

Discover the citizenM brand and their offers on their website
To learn more about the bachelor degree program and specializations click here.

Photo credit: citizenM London

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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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