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Experience matters when plotting your career

publication date: Jun 20, 2011
 | 
author/source: Aandrew Lo
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Experience matters when plotting your career |                          By Andrew Lo

Experience matters when plotting your career | By Andrew Lo


"You're working in a hotel this summer?" My fellow classmates were interning in investment banks, consulting firms, tech outfits and so on.

And there I was, the only one going into hospitality. I felt like a black sheep.

But even with the benefit of hindsight, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

At Four Seasons Hong Kong, I spent time in both housekeeping and accounts, learning a bit of operations and a bit of administration. Being in housekeeping was a supremely humbling experience and showed me the immense importance of the department. My colleagues in housekeeping were multi-talented, and I realized they could make or break the reputation of any property. I learned everything from the fastest way to put the cover back on a king-size duvet, to the most efficient way to wipe down a TV, to the art of not taking offense when being berated by a guest for something that was no fault of mine.

I enjoyed the opportunity to work in different guestrooms, from the most basic to the Presidential Suite. Going about my daily duties, I noticed how space was used, and I imagined what guests would see, hear and feel when they first entered a room.

I saw that even as a lowly intern, I could contribute in some small way to a guest's experience at the hotel. For instance, if I saw that a guest constantly used up the bottles of shampoo and soap during the day, I would make a note to put in two bottles of each instead of the standard one.

I learned that luxury service is about anticipating what guests need and want before they even ask.

In accounts, I was given a variety of tasks to do: everything from assisting with income audits to preparing budget reports and chasing down accounts receivable. While my time spent in that department was equally fruitful, I did not get the same satisfaction as I did when I was in housekeeping. Somewhere deep inside of me, I think I enjoyed the contact and interaction with guests. I learned over the course of my internship that the qualities required to succeed in this discipline are really no different to those required in consulting or banking.

During my junior summer, I stepped away from hospitality and was a summer analyst on the private wealth management team of a bulge bracket investment bank. After weeks of staring at a computer looking at graphs and performing analysis on industries I knew little about, I decided that I would return to Four Seasons Hong Kong for my senior summer.

This time around, I had the privilege of being in marketing for nine weeks, where I had the opportunity to perform competitor analysis, write recommendations and tag along with the sales managers to their meetings. I was still in front of a computer but for fewer hours a day, during which I wrote about interesting, relevant topics within the hotel industry.

Although no longer with the group, I am immensely grateful to all Four Seasons staff who showed me the ropes and opened my door into the industry.

 
CONTACTAndrew Lo
Email: andrewcl88@gmail.com


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