After obtaining my high school diploma in hotel management from a small town in Italy, I started my hospitality career working at The Ritz London as a waiter, but after a couple of months, I realized I wanted to continue with my studies and I decided to enroll at Vatel Hotel & Tourism business School for 4 main reasons:
1. There are many schools all around the world.
2. There is a large alumni presence in different countries.
3. The curriculum offers many internships compared to other hospitality schools.
4. The Marco Polo exchange program
I noticed that there was a school in Bangkok, Thailand and chose to study there because of the double degree programme with Silpakorn University International College, which allows me to earn a European degree and at the same time a local one. I was also interested to study in Thailand because it is one of the most visited countries for tourism and pursuing my studies in the Land of Smiles just made sense to me.
During my 4 years of studies, I had the opportunity to intern in top international hotels such as The Peninsula and Rosewood. I also took advantage of the Marco Polo exchange program where I spent my third year in another Vatel school in Madrid, Spain. This experience further expanded my career opportunities and left me with very good memories.
During my last year I interned as an Operations trainee at Soho Hospitality in Bangkok and this became also my first full time job in Thailand once I graduated. I really enjoyed working for Soho Hospitality and I learned how to be flexible, multitask and to be a good problem solver.
In January 2022, I moved to Abu Dhabi to work at the luxurious 5-star Emirates Palace Mandarin Oriental as Food & Beverage Supervisor for a new Italian restaurant called ‘Talea’. Here there are a lot of people from different cultural backgrounds, and everyone is focused on work and their career. My main duty as a supervisor is making sure that everyone is doing their job properly and the daily operation in our restaurant runs smoothly. I also take care of any customer complaints and of my team’s training needs.
It is a nice experience to be part of a pre-opening team because I can see everything from the beginning, and we have to be very flexible to find solutions because nothing is perfect from the first day. I feel glad to have had the opportunity to be part of Mandarin Oriental Hotel group because all my colleagues are very nice and supportive, I will also be able to boost my career with their professional training programmes.
A few tips from my experience to help students that are reading this:
1. Don’t be afraid of going out of your comfort zone.
2. Be eager to learn and to make an impact but at the same time be humble and listen more than you speak.
3. Make a lot of connections when it is possible because you never know when you will cross paths again.
I will therefore always have good memories and be thankful to Vatel and Silpakorn for my university years. It is thanks to my university journey and preparation that I am where I am today.
“Vatel made me more open-minded and allowed me to meet people who contributed to making me who I am today.”
Aurélie Ponce - Operations manager for the Cheval Blanc Paris Hotel / 2006 Alumnus
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