Let’s Talk Student Council: with Yana Kyrylyuk
How is the HSMAI Europe Student Council (“The Council”) helping your studies?
The Council provides me with great opportunities to expand my network, meet hospitality professionals, hear about the latest trends from leading companies and, of course, meet other students who have the same passion for hospitality.
What was the reason for choosing a degree in Hotel Management?
I followed my curiosity. I wanted to find the answer to two questions: 1) how challenging it is to manage a 24/7 business where there is no ‘go back’ button for a mistake 2) What turns a building into a hotel with soul.
Shortly, I went from passion to profession.
What are some of the biggest challenges students at your School/others you know studying hotel management degrees finding?
Many students expected studying hospitality to be way easier. They expected it to be less intense. To be successful in hospitality industry you need to love serving others, and it is something that is not possible to fake. Those who don’t sincerely enjoy serving others will not stay in this industry for a long time.
What do you think the industry could be doing to attract more talent and take degrees in hotel/hospitality management?
Stop attracting, start retaining. In addition to thinking about how to make the industry attractive for potential employees, instead make the industry attractive for current employees. Why would I care about working in the industry that is more interested in me rather than its own employee?
Based on your experience/other students what can the hospitality world being doing to improve the internship experience?
Internship is part of our study programme. We are interested in learning and developing and it [internships] give us the opportunity to try out different departments and companies to see what we like the most. More benefits, higher salary is nice, but it is not something that would make us say: “It was a great experience. I learned so much”. Companies should think about internships as one semester of on-job studying because that’s what it essentially is, and that’s what we are looking for.
If you were running an educational campaign to attract more to the industry, what would be the core messages? What messages to schools/parents (people aged 16 – 18 who are considering university options)
At the very beginning I would let them know what the industry is about. Before I entered university, I thought that after graduation I can be either a hotel manager or restaurant manager, and that’s it.
If I were responsible for the campaign, I would ask employees to be ‘the face’ of the campaign, but not just the employees who sit in offices. I would ask people working across a wide range of hospitality roles to come and talk to schools and parents because they are the ones who know the work the best.
The goal of an educational campaign is to educate and give insight, and not simply to make it look nice and attractive.
What is your dream job when you graduate?
I talk in terms of goals, and not dreams.
My ‘goal job’ is to be in service for my people and make them feel proud of the place they work in.
Top photo from left: Ingunn Hofseth, President & CEO HSMAI Region Europe, Michelle Woodley, Chair of the HSMAI Foundation and President of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Yana Kyrylyuk, member of the HSMAI Europe Student Council and Bob Gilbert, President & CEO of HSMAI Global and the HSMAI Americas