Friday, June 20, 2014
Where are they now? Interview with alumnus Christophe Hobeika H12
Christophe Hobeika H12, Assistant Marketing Manager at Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai, shares his experience:
1) What drew you to work in the hospitality industry and study with the ESSEC MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI)?
Since I was a kid, I have always been attracted to food and restaurants. I wanted to become a Chef and, with time, discovered that hotels were actually a space where I could picture myself quite well. I then decided to pursue my studies in hospitality and work at the same time in an apprenticeship. After my BTS (French undergraduate degree) I wanted more: more educational challenges, greater depth, and a degree with a great reputation. That's why I picked the ESSEC MBA in International Hospitality Management. Or it picked me, I don't really know. :)
2) Please describe your career path after IMHI? What is your current role and its responsibilities?
Before IMHI, I was pursuing hospitality studies with an apprenticeship scheme. I first worked in Operations for 2 years (front office) in independent Parisian hotels and 1 year in Sales and Marketing, followed by 3 months at the InterContinental London Park Lane. Following this experience, I joined IMHI.
After IMHI, I went straight back to the UAE, where I had previously completed a 6-month internship at the InterContinental Abu Dhabi during the MBA. I loved my time there and was eager to get a position in one of Dubai's top performing hotels. I landed at Madinat Jumeirah, the Arabian Resort of Dubai, part of the Jumeirah Group, which represents close to 50% of the entire UAE portfolio (9 hotels). I took a step down in order to get in and started as Marketing Communications Executive. After 6 month in the job, we started talking about the next step. One year later, I was promoted to Resort Assistant Marketing Manager and I am now in charge of the entire digital srategy of the resort, as well as marketing campaigns for the resort’s entertainment/lifestyle side (Madinat Theatre, Madinat Amphitheatre, Talise Fitness, Sinbad's Kids Club and our private beach). For full details, you can see my LinkedIn profile.
3) Was there anything in particular about the ESSC MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI) that helped prepare you for your career path or qualify you for your current position?
Given the rapid evolutions taking place in the hospitality industry, some of the specific information you studied at IMHI may have changed only two years later... But the way the professors make you think and challenge you will stay with you for life. This is what I value about my experience at IMHI. I am now able to take very quick business decisions because things just make sense to me. I always justify everything I say, which is highly appreciated in the business environment and supports whatever actions you take.
4) What advice would you give to current students who preparing to enter the job market, or who are undertaking their internship?
It's extremely easy when you study at IMHI to forget that you are still young and have yet to prove yourself in a very competitive market. It's great to believe in yourself, but you have to give yourself some time to grow. Look for a strategic position for your internship, something that will prepare you to grow quickly once you join a new company. It's okay to step down in order to move up. Patience is key.
5) What is your favorite memory from IMHI?
The people you meet, be they students, professors or industry leaders, are a great opportunity. IMHI is a multicultural program and the people there are just amazing; I’m glad to call many of them my friends.
What competencies are needed to succeed in the hospitality industry? Download the white paper "Aiming for Excellence in the Fast-Growing Hospitality Industry" by Professor Nicolas Graf, Academic Director of the MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI).
Download the MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI) Brochure