1. What ingredients go into making of a good career in hotel management?
A. I believe that the ingredients for making a good career in the hospitality industry are more or less the same for gaining success in any industry. First and foremost you have to be passionate about what you do. Because with passion comes creativity. And creativity is very important for you to get ahead in this field. You also need to be prepared to work hard. Always keep in mind that ours is an industry that never sleeps. So you need to be prepared to work long hours and unusual timings.
2. According to you which are the best institutes that an aspirant should target?
A. If an aspiring student wants to do his or her degree abroad, the best choice probably is Lausanne in Switzerland. Cornell school of hotel management in USA, Le cordon bleu France is also known for their degrees. As for India, WGSHA Manipal, IHM Aurangabad and IHM Bangalore are great places to start.
3. What kind of entrance exams are there to secure a seat in best institute? Which one did you appear?
A. To secure a seat in one of the leading hotel management institutes, there are two options. One is to appear for the IHM entrance exams. The second is to appear for an examination conducted by the private institutions. Most good hotel management schools have their own entrance examination for which you have to appear in order to get selected. I wrote both my IHM entrance exam and my WGSHA (Welcomgroup School of Hotel Administration) entrance exam.
4. How a fresher should sharpen his skills to fetch better opportunities?
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A. For starters, (pun intended!) you should have sound technical knowledge of the respective department you wish to join. Learning the overall dynamics of a hotel can get you ahead in the long run. Sound communication skills are exceedingly important as we are constantly interacting with guests. You must also know how to function under pressure because this industry can be very demanding at times.
5. Tell us about the prospects in terms of financial satisfaction for a beginner.
A. If you get through as a management trainee in one of the good hotel chains, then your financial prospects are good. If not, you may have to start at a lower pay scale. However, if you can prove yourself at work, then you can move ahead fast.
6. As a hotel management graduate what are your plans ahead? How satisfied are you with your choice of career?
A. In the current scenario there are a lot of multinational hotels venturing into opening new properties in India. One need not stick to hotels but could also look into the options of hotel consultancies and retails. I’m enormously satisfied with my choice of career! This comes from the fact that I enjoy doing what I do. It can get a little taxing at times but whenever I see guests walking out of my restaurant (or hotel) with a big smile on their face, it makes the effort worthwhile.
7. How can we determine the rate of success in this field?
A. Success is a very relative term and it varies from person to person! To me, success is all about what makes you happy. After being in the industry for twenty years, if you can wake up in the morning and be happy to go to work, I would say that you are pretty successful.
(Inputs shared by Nikhil Nagpal, Chef at Park Sheraton, Chennai.)