IMHI Class of 2016-2017

IMHI Class of 2016-2017
Class of 2016-2017

Thursday, April 14, 2016

How to make the most of your apprenticeship

By Capucine Viguier, MBA in Hospitality Management, France, 2014-2016 2nd Year

After a prep school, I graduated a Master of Sciences in Management at Kedge Business School in Bordeaux. As I have always wanted to work in the hospitality industry while getting a business background, I took the opportunity during my Business School course to spend one year in Bangkok to ​follow a management training in a Pullman hotel (Accorhotels Group) in F&B, Front Office and Marketing departments. After several internships in Reservation in Belgium and Revenue Management in Berlin I was ready to enrol and enter the MBA in Hospitality Management at ESSEC.

As I planned to follow the apprenticeship program offered by IMHI, I was fortunate enough to continue my adventure within the AccorHotels Group in Paris as a Hotel Preopening Project Manager for the Luxury and Upscale department. At the same time I joined the Accor Student Ambassador program in order to promote the group internal event for my school community such as the Wolrlwide Take Off Student Challenges.

During the last 12 months, I had the opportunity to join the preopening team of 2 challenging properties opening: Les Cures Marines de Trouville a 5-star MGallery by Sofitel, and the Pullman Roissy CDG Airport 4*. At the end of these two operational experiences, I started working at the headquarters on a hotel pre opening tool kit for the next MGallery franchises openings. This was such an enriching mission, as I wanted to keep a foot in the operational side while being involved in the Global strategy of each brand.

These two pre openings experiences were a lot of hard work but so stimulating and rewarding. I had never stopped learning in the last past 12 months. For both mission, I was right away emerged within the hotel when the construction was in progress. I started the adventure from the scratch, as there were only the GM and the Director of HR. Everything had to  be created.

From October 2015 to March 2016, it was an intense period as I combined classes at ESSEC for 3 days a week then work at Trouville for 2 days. Once the two first trimesters were completed, all apprentices were required to spend 9 months full time in their respective companies. At that time, I moved from a seaside hotel to an airport property in Roissy. The key objective of my job was to ensure that the project was delivered on time. For that I supported every head of department in term of Human Ressources, Sales and Marketing, Revenue Management and Food & Beverage. My mission covered a large area of topic: from the implementation of standard operating to furniture and fixtures equipment ordering and social media campaigns (just to name a few). There were also nice aspects such as food and wine tasting.

I was the coordinator of the project between the Headquarters and the operational side. Project Management is captivating because it allows me not only to support on various topics but also to work with multiple departments on cross-functional projects. It was a challenging experience as for each property we had to face unexpected events and always adapt ourselves to come up with solutions, especially in case of delay of the opening date. As you can see, there is no time to waste when it comes to opening a hotel, I never count my hours and I love it. I was fully dedicated to my job as I was considered myself as an employee as a whole. I had the chance to be trusted and to work directly with both General Managers who gave me many important responsibilities and missions to achieve. I had the opportunity to participate to strategic meetings and I often interacted with the Brand Regional Directors. It helped to develop my communication and leadership skills. Some of my managers acted more as mentors than direct superiors.  

It was the opportunity to provide my competencies learnt in course but also to bring my expertise from my previous experiences in Revenue Management and Marketing. Nevertheless, one challenging aspect of this apprenticeship was switching from one team to another and finding my place to get the trust of my managers in some stressful period. It was also emotionally hard to leave one team for another when you have shared such strong moments. Indeed, it is above all a human experience and it would have no value if it would have been easy. I developed strong relationship for life with people from different background. Last week, I came back at the Pullman Paris Roissy CDG Airport for the inauguration party, and it is always the same emotion of accomplishment of 8 month-hard work and pleasure when entering this hotel and meeting my former colleagues.

Needless to say, my apprenticeship was my best professional experience so far and I could not have imagined better with two-hotel preopening at this stage of my professional early career. It was truly a fantastic and unforgettable experience with amazing memories remaining with me forever. 

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