The effects of the pandemic mean it is not just more difficult to find an internship; it can also be hard to keep one. But Colombian Master’s student Santiago de Greiff offers an object lesson in how to overcome the challenge and reap the full benefit of the real-world professional experience that completes all our Master’s programs.
Santiago chose our Master’s in International Hospitality Business and, after completing the academic part, he landed an internship at a hotel. Unfortunately, his employer had to close their premises in March this year, as Covid-19 bit down hard on the hospitality industry.
It was a tough setback, and it meant having to return home to live with his parents; but Santiago was not about to let this stop him. Describing himself as an “eager person” who doesn’t like sitting around waiting for things to happen, he immediately established an at-home bakery, while also studying computer programming. And he set about selling himself in the job market.
“I started applying for jobs as soon as I was laid off from the hotel around the end of March,” he explains. “I must have sent out around 100 CVs, from which I got some replies from companies saying they were not hiring because of Covid.”
Your network is your greatest asset
At this point, the power of personal networks came to the fore. A contact of Santiago’s was working for Rappi, one of the fastest-growing start-up companies in Latin America. She recommended his CV to the head of the area, who liked it and promptly invited Santiago in for an interview.
“Rappi is a SuperApp specialized in restaurant food delivery, which also lets customers order things like groceries and medicines. I landed a role in charge of handling the commission payments to all the drugstores and supermarkets across the nine Latin American countries in which the app is available.
“It’s not precisely in the hospitality industry, but I’m still getting to apply the things I learned at Glion to my work, particularly the client service theories. Also, my time at Glion made me appreciate the value of diversity, and that’s really helpful since I am now interacting professionally with people from nine different countries.
“I think Glion students are given a wide-angle vision of the world we live in. For me, this is the important thing: to be able to extrapolate what you learn in school and apply it to whatever scenario you are facing.”
For those students facing a challenging employment scenario, Santiago concludes with this wise advice, “Reach out to friends, family and everyone around you. Talk about your dreams and expectations and keep moving forward, even though you may feel the steps you are taking are not leading directly to your dream, they will help you to keep growing during these hard and uncertain times.”