Monte-Carlo is a playground for the rich and famous, offering some of hospitality’s most glamorous roles. We caught up with four Glion alumni who are each making their mark amid the warm sunshine and azure seas of the French Riviera…
Field trips aren’t just an occasion for Glion students to see their topic come alive in the ‘real world’; they are also a fantastic networking opportunity.
The recent Master’s in Luxury Management and Guest Experience field trip took both those elements to the maximum, as the students were taken to Europe’s (and perhaps the world’s) most celebrated luxury destination: Monte-Carlo.
As part of their trip the students met with a number of alumni who now call the principality home. Our camera crew also took some time to chat with these alumni, and here (in graduation order) is what they had to tell us about life after Glion and what their advice would be to current students.
Chief Operating Officer, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer
Pascal studied at Glion from 1989 to 1990, undertaking a short, graduate diploma program because he “wanted to gain experience and improve my skills in the hospitality industry”.
And it worked. “Glion was for me the ‘School of Excellence’ when it comes to the skills for being a hotel manager; it gave me what a hotelier really needs. Now, of course, I improve my skills with the experience of my work, but Glion gave me all the techniques and theory that you need when you start out in your career.”
Today, Pascal is COO of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer (SBM), a publicly listed company which manages and owns the Monte-Carlo Casino, the Opéra de Monte-Carlo, and the Hôtel de Paris in Monte-Carlo, as well as a host of other restaurants, bars, night clubs, spas, beach clubs, and golf clubs.
He sees a fundamental step in that journey to success as being when he had the opportunity to be Deputy General Manager for a new hotel opening early in his career with SBM. And his advice to current students is to be bold if a similar opportunity arises.
“I told the students to feel the ‘today’ that they are in; and to follow the opportunities that their professional lives may give to them. Not being shy and not to spend too much time thinking about these opportunities – you have to act with your heart and then things will succeed.”
Managing Director, Fairmont Monte-Carlo, and Regional VP Accor Luxury Hotels Italy, Spain, Portugal
Pierre-Louis completed his Glion diploma in 1990 and immediately stepped into the world of luxury hospitality with a role as Conference & Banqueting Coordinator at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris. A globetrotting career followed, which saw him take senior managerial roles in the UK and United States, before returning to his native France and an Area General Manager position with the Barrière group. This gave him responsibility for two hotels in Cannes, Le Majestic and Le Gray d’Albion, as well as Le Carl Gustaf in St Barth.
Today, Pierre-Louis is Managing Director of the Fairmont Monte-Carlo, famous to Formula 1 fans across the globe as the location for the ultra-tight ‘Fairmont Hairpin’ curve of the principality’s Grand Prix circuit. He also has a regional responsibility for Accor’s luxury properties in southern Europe.
What does Pierre-Louis believe it takes to be a good leader? “In my opinion, a good leader needs to be authentic, to believe in your values, and to make sure that you act according to this authenticity and these values. Also, to find a good equilibrium between your clients’ satisfaction, your shareholders’ satisfaction, and the wellbeing of your staff.”
Finding a balance is also at the core of Pierre-Louis’ advice to current Glion students. He says, “It’s about paying respect to your environment, because this notion of social responsibility is absolutely critical today; but also paying respect to the people you are working with and to your company’s shareholders. So it’s finding a balance between these three elements, then of course the most important is to find pleasure in bringing satisfaction to your guests.”
Assistant to the Director of Careers, Training and Mobility, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer
A class of 1992 Glion graduate, Isabelle took her first post-Glion job at the Monte-Carlo SBM and has been with the group ever since! Her early career was in frontline hospitality, working as a Banqueting Coordinator first for smaller groups and then progressing to the major events and congresses that saw guests filling hundreds of hotel rooms throughout the principality.
Today, Isabelle is responsible for SBM employees’ career progression and mobility, while also looking after relationships with educational institutions like Glion. “After around 20 years taking care of guests, I decided to take care of the people working for the organization, so I switched into the human resources department,” she explains.
How much does she value being a Glion alumna? “It’s helped me professionally, because now the school is well known in the industry. And it also helps me because I learned so many skills, so many things in Glion that I can apply every day in my work. From a personal point of view, it’s like a family; and that’s why I am always glad to offer internships to Glion students, because I feel like they are part of the family and also because I know they’ll have good skills.
“I would say to the students listen hard and make the most of your time at Glion, because it is a school of life; and even if you don’t end up working in hotel management, you can work anywhere because this culture and reputation will open doors for you.”
Banquet and Congress Event Coordinator, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer
Bringing us right up to the present alumni generation is Silvia Fioretti, a Monaco-born Italian national who graduated from Glion in 2020. Her post-graduation management trainee role with Kempinski in Frankfurt was compromised by the Covid pandemic, and so she decided to return to the place of her birth to take a job as a Client Advisor with SBM, subsequently being promoted to her present position of Event Coordinator.
What has she taken from her time at Glion which is proving most useful today? “I would say teamwork. This is really important for the job I do right now, because we are a small team and – as everyone knows – the hospitality industry is always changing. So with people leaving, new people arriving, you really need to have good teamwork and a lot of communication to work in this sector.”
For Silvia, being a Glion alumna means having an extended family across the world, but also a close family among the other alumni working for SBM. “I just know that whenever I’m traveling somewhere, it’s likely there will be someone from Glion who I can meet and ask for advice. It means a lot; and even now in Monaco, being at the Société des Bains de Mer with many alumni working here, it’s really nice to meet them every day.”
And her advice to current students? “Just enjoy Glion, but at the same time consider all your options and make sure you look beyond the pure salary at something you really want to do. Also, take any opportunity – I started as a Client Advisor here at SBM and now I have kind of my dream job at 25 years old!”
Main image: Sylvain Sonnet/Getty
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