The email that changed everything: how Kiki landed her ideal hospitality internship

After completing a year of intense and focused study, our Master’s students have a chance to put their newly-acquired knowledge to the test with a professional internship.

For Kiki Tsagkari, a Master’s in International Hospitality Business student from Greece, the aim was to land an internship position in a new country, so she could gain experience and knowledge in a different setting.

The problem – it won’t surprise you to learn – was Covid-19; and in particular the dramatic effect it has had on international travel and hospitality.

Kiki explains, “Unfortunately, the pandemic changed many aspects of life as we knew it and brought a large number of difficulties. I must admit that, at some point, negativity got the best of me, as I am sure it did to many people. I was very worried and under a lot of stress thinking about how I may not be able to find an internship that I want; and that I would probably have to settle for something that was not in my choices.”

The search took four months, and saw Kiki firing off some 30 applications for roles she found on Glion’s own jobs platform, Simplicity, plus external services such as LinkedIn and Hosco. All the while, our Careers team provided her with information and support to prepare for the job searches and interviews. “This helped me to improve my soft skills and learn how to begin to be a ‘real’ hospitality professional,” she says.

Like all good stories, this one has a happy ending. “While I was sending some online applications for internships, mostly in Europe, I received an email out of the blue from Hyatt Regency Dubai. They contacted me and informed me that they were looking for a person to fill a position, and asked me if I was interested.

“I was pleasantly surprised when I received this email. The fact that I did not even apply for anything in Dubai and they still found me through the Hosco website was unimaginable! Also, in my interview they expressed admiration and enthusiasm that I did my Master’s at Glion. This for me was a massive confidence and morale boost; and I felt like all the hard work and sacrifices during the past year were worth it.”

Kiki is fulfilling the role of Host Team Leader, with the hotel management also giving her the opportunity to undertake some marketing-related tasks, in order to build her knowledge of this discipline. She adds that her goal is to move into the sales and marketing function as soon as she can.

 

A life changing experience

Looking back to her time studying her Master’s at Glion, how does Kiki feel about the experience?

“Glion was a life changing experience for me. Being in such a multicultural environment as that is something that evolves you into a different person; more open-minded and understanding, and more insightful to the industry and all that surrounds it.

“Today, working in a big company like Hyatt, where the employees are from all over the world, I have the skills to adapt in any environment and situation, thanks to what Glion offered me. In addition, regarding my interview, I felt very confident about myself, because the team at Glion had guided me on what to expect, as well as how to behave in a professional interview.”

Her Master’s studies didn’t just help Kiki develop these all-important soft skills. The business and operational knowledge contained in the program was also hugely important, especially as she’d studied her Bachelor’s degree in an unrelated topic.

“My studies allowed me to see the hospitality industry from all different angles, opening my eyes to how vast and diverse it can be. Now I feel more certain about choosing the right career path to be an expert in hospitality, because I came to understand that this industry has countless opportunities and different paths to follow, depending on your personal interests.”

And Kiki had one final message, aimed at students, graduates and other young people who are currently looking to get their feet on the first rung of the career ladder.

I advise you to never lose hope! Always be positive in your thought processes. A positive mind-set is the start of everything. Sooner or later the time will come when all your hard work will pay off. Always be determined on what your goal is, what you hope to achieve and stay focused on that. Be open to new challenges, new people, new environments, and never stop trying to improve yourself.”