By Marion Neveu, MBA in Hospitality Management, France, 2013-2015 2nd Year
In September 2013, I entered the MBA in Hospitality Management program at Essec. As my professional experiences were mainly related to Operations and Food & Beverage, my personal goal was to find the right opportunity for a change. During the first year at IMHI, I discovered new interests and my ambition changed. I discovered that being a General Manager or a Hotel Department Manager are only a few examples of the top-level management jobs available in the hotel industry. Even if I am passionate about the hospitality industry, I realized that working in a hotel might not be the right “fit” for me.
A few months later, I found an internship at HTI Consulting in Cape Town, South Africa. HTI is a consulting firm specialized in Hospitality and Tourism that operates across Africa and the Middle East. As I accepted the offer, Alban George, another IMHI student, told me that he was also going to be working for HTI Consulting.
At the end of March 2014 I took a flight to South Africa… the adventure had begun! When I first arrived in Cape Town and joined Alban we spend a week on vacation to settle in and discover our new hometown.
Living in Cape Town was an amazing experience. The Mother City is located on the Western Cape peninsula, between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. It is an ideal mix of urban area and nature and it is very easy to get away from the city and visit the surrounding areas.
During my internship, my missions were mainly related to feasibility studies, the core business of the company. I assisted my superior on three different assignments: feasibility studies in Swaziland, Togo, and Kenya. I also helped on various other contracts (such as in Mauritius or Congo).
The projects are conducted using the same method, but the reports are custom-made for the client, so the workload and structure can be quite different.
At the beginning of a study, an employee travels to the destination to study the market and meet the local actors (NGO’s, hotels, governmental bodies and main companies). As an intern, I remained at the office to collect the data and start the report. I produced graphs to highlight the data, summary tables, and wrote part of the reports. When I started out, I was in charge of the first two parts of the report – the economic overview and the tourism overview – and a few months later I was assigned to different challenging tasks. I also created excel templates designed to properly collect data at the beginning of the studies. Since the projects sometimes last more than three months, it’s easier to have the data (as well as sources) in the same file.
During my internship, I was working on behalf of Magdaline, a senior analyst for the company. We got along well and I greatly appreciated her knowledge and experience. The CEO of the company, Wayne Troughton, is very knowledgeable on the African market and his analyses were very helpful. The whole team was very nice and the atmosphere was pleasant, despite busy periods and stressful deadlines.
This experience was very positive, professionally as well as personally. I made a lot of friends from everywhere, as Cape Town is a dynamic city. After graduation, I am planning to look for a post in consulting and development, and going back to Cape Town or the African continent could be the right place to start, since the markets are not yet mature.
As the 1st year at IMHI was a chance to find what I wanted to do, I now expect to take classes relating to that field and to be able to go further with additional courses that could strengthen my competencies.