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When Glion students push themselves, they reap the rewards. For alumna Luana Huang, that has come in the form of a management trainee role with the world’s largest hotel group.

Having stepped out of her comfort zone by becoming a Glion Student Ambassador and subsequently Marriott Educational Ambassador during her time at the school, BBA graduate Luana Huang has landed a place on Voyage, Marriott’s management training program.

We caught up with her as the news came in that she would be undergoing her training at the Sheraton Grand Warsaw to find out more about her hospitality journey and how a Glion education has prepared her for the next chapter of her career.

The Insider (TI): How was your journey from Glion student to the Voyage program, and what are your first impressions?
Luana Huang (LH): When I became a Marriott Education Ambassador as a Glion student, I was working closely with the Manager of Talent Acquisition Programs & University Relations to share information with my fellow students about the opportunities at Marriott International for internships and for graduates on the Global Management Training Program.

Sheraton Grand Warsaw.

I’ve now joined the Marriott Voyage Program in the Rooms Division at the Sheraton Grand Warsaw. I was really keen to join this program and it involves learning about various different departments with the Director of Rooms, Michal Kolmus, as my mentor.

As for first impressions, to be honest I had a different image in my mind when stepping into the hotel as my last memory of it was before the renovations. So it was both surprising and amazing to be greeted by the new contemporary lobby. Even though I am in the early stages of my Voyage, I trust Marriott International’s award-winning global leadership development program to help shape my future.

TI: What was it about Marriott International that appealed to you?
LH: I found J.W. Marriott’s philosophy: “Take care of associates and they’ll take care of your customers,” particularly appealing. Also, Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel chain, meaning there are countless opportunities in almost every country you can think of, so I’m eager to find out what lies ahead of me.

Shortly after becoming a Marriott Education Ambassador, I was determined to secure my second internship in the hotel group so I could share first-hand experience when talking about Marriott opportunities with my peers. I managed to secure a place at W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island where I had an unforgettable experience – so much more than just an internship. From the first moments there, I immediately noticed ‘putting people first’, one of the group’s five pillars, was in evidence and was astonished by how truly the founder’s philosophy is lived at Marriott International.

TI: What did you learn at Glion that’s helping you in the Marriott Voyage program?
LH: Glion taught me a lot of things, but I am really grateful we were given so many projects to complete. Making group and individual presentations in front of the whole class almost every week immensely improved my public speaking. As a shy person, I didn’t love the idea when I found out I had to present and I still turn as red as a tomato sometimes when speaking in public; but I definitely communicate my message more clearly thanks to all the practice I had. These ‘uncomfortable situations’ were necessary and enabled me to develop hard and soft skills that I still use today.

TI: And how do you think Glion and its Careers team has helped you in your professional journey so far?
LH: The Glion Ambassador program was definitely a factor in my development. I remember when I first arrived on campus, I told myself I wanted to push myself and get out of my comfort zone. I had no idea what that entailed, but I was determined to do it. A few days later, I learned about the program, read the job description and told myself ‘This is it. Representing Glion to prospective students is a great way to begin to put myself out there‘.

Despite the limited in-person opportunities we had due to the pandemic at the time, the Glion Ambassador experience enabled me to develop. I’m also grateful to the Career Services team, who connected me with recruiters at the careers day and gave me advice and support whenever I needed it.

TI: How do you think Glion prepares students for success in the hospitality industry?
LH: In several ways. Personally, I found the first six months at Glion the most influential in terms of both personal and professional growth. I became more independent as it was my first time living abroad alone. And thanks to the practical arts semester, I got to hone my creativity skills and learn outside the classroom in various departments, including front office, housekeeping and F&B. We even had the chance to create and run a pop-up restaurant! I think these experiences allowed all of us to better understand the hospitality paths we wanted to follow while also preparing us for our internships and future careers with some practical skills under our belts.

TI: What are your fondest memories of Glion?
LH: That fusion of learning outside the classroom and working on different projects every week truly allows you to master the soft and hard skills you need. Many of these projects require teamwork, so it really helped embed the famous Glion Spirit among us all. I think my ultimate fondest memory at Glion is the last day of the practical arts course in Semester 1, when I reflected on how Glion had become my second family.

TI: Finally, what are your long-term ambitions in hospitality?
LH: My ultimate goal is to become a renowned hotelier known for delivering exceptional service and setting new standards of excellence in the industry, working with a team of passionate professionals in creating innovative hospitality concepts that redefine luxury and elevate the guest experience to new heights.

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