Having grown up in the gastronomy sector, I wanted to combine my experience of the family hospitality business with my own independence and desire to carve my own path.
An Independent Vision
My parents owned a restaurant and inn, so I was surrounded by that sector right from the beginning. With my mother being particularly active in the industry, I soon became interested in it myself, though in the end I decided against taking over the family business in favour of making my own way. That path lead me to study Hospitality Management at IU International University of Applied Sciences.
The Personal Touch
I found studying at IU to always be dynamic and exciting. There was the practical side of the learning, which was very important, but I was also never short of opportunities to be academically challenged. What I liked best was the personal touch – I was never treated as a number and I was always able to make great connections, many of which have lasted in the form of friendships with my fellow students.
After graduation, I undertook the Management Trainee Programme at the Ritz Carlton in Wolfsburg with a focus on Food & Beverages. Though I learned a lot and made some great contacts there, it also led me to a revelation: the HR sector was where my true career passion lay. After a spell in an entry-level HR role with an executive search firm, and subsequently a Master’s in HR, I returned to the hotel world in 2012, working as an Assistant Training Manager at the Atlantis the Palm in Dubai. Since 2020, I have been responsible for Marriott talent programmes and brand training for the whole EMEA region, based in Marriott’s Frankfurt offices. My IU experience helped me understand how important networking would turn out to be through all of my career developments, not to mention how much my workplace communication skills benefited from the fact that all my IU lectures were delivered in English.
Giving Back on the Alumni Council
I got involved with the Alumni Council because, ever since I graduated, I retained a strong sense of connection to IU, until eventually I decided to reactivate that connection. I wanted to get personally involved again, to help create an interface between alumni, students, companies, and the university. This experience has reminded of how much you can learn just by listening to people and being genuinely interested in what inspires them and how you can help them on their career path. An active alumni network is a great way to stay in touch, learn from others, and create opportunities.
To current students I would say: cultivate your contacts, remember that the career path is rarely straightforward and it’s OK to try out different things, don’t worry about starting small, and always remember to take time for yourself along the way. As for my fellow alumni, get involved too! Go to any meetings and get-togethers organised by your local IU Alumni Network, and attend the online events as well.