What the IUBH Family Can Learn from Each Other
Viviane Bürger is a graduate of IUBH Duales Studium in Tourism and Hospitality. Now Hotel Director with GHOTEL Group, she supervises several Duales Studium students from IUBH. Meryem, Kim, Ann-Kathrin and Viviane tell our interviewer how they all benefit from this arrangement.
Viviane, following your Duales Studium experience at IUBH and your subsequent employment at GHOTEL “hotel & living Essen”, your career path took you on a quick ascent to your current role of Hotel Director at GHOTEL. What was the key to your success?
For one, perhaps the most crucial factor was that I’ve always given 100%. The Duales Studium experience gave me the opportunity to become familiar with all the internal standards and practices of the industry right from the beginning. The firm foundation in theory, as well as practice, offered to me by my studies at IUBH was also of great importance. After completing my degree, I undertook the management trainee programme at GHOTEL. This gave me a thorough understanding of the company at management level within 18 months. Then, when our hotel manager left the company, I was able to seize the chance to prove myself as Deputy Hotel Director. In this position, I had sole responsibility for the hotel on an interim basis. Due to how well this situation worked out, I was officially offered full leadership a few months later.
How did it come about that GHOTEL hotel & living agreed to employ Duales Studium (DS) students in Essen?
It all started in October 2017, when it was getting increasingly difficult to get trainees interested in the hospitality industry. Because of my positive experience at IUBH, I suggested that we make contact with the university branch in Düsseldorf. As a result of this, Meryem Sever became our first DS hire. I made sure to support and advise her in both word and deed, and she progressed so well that I determined to seek further DS candidates. So now, as of November 1st 2019, we have four of them with us.
Meryem, Kim and Ann-Kathrin, you’re all studying Tourism at IUBH, but in different semesters. What are your tasks at your partner company, GHOTEL “hotel & living in Essen”?
Ann-Kathrin (4th Semester): At the moment I’m temping again at service level, primarily in late service. In this area, we’re responsible not just for service in the bar and restaurant, but also at the banquets.
Meryem (5th Semester): My fields of responsibility were initially distributed across all foundational areas of the hotel industry, from service to housekeeping to reception duties. This was a very wide-ranging experience, full of variety. After that, I was placed in the group reservation and banqueting department. I also got some valuable insights into the marketing department, and at the moment I’m in sales.
Kim (3rd Semester): GHOTEL “hotel & living Essen” gives us students the opportunity to grow and development through the various tasks that are assigned to us. Over time, the company entrusts us with more and more responsibility.
Viviane, what are the advantages of working with DS students?
They provide the ideal complement to our regular trainees. We can be sure that they have at the very least attained their high school diplomas, meaning that they are of legal age and know exactly what they want and where their responsibilities lie. In addition, via their studies at IUBH, they are already familiar with the inner workings of the industry – crucial knowledge for our leaders of tomorrow.
They can also take advantage of their project assignments to investigate internal standards and practices. This allows them to detect potential areas of improvement, such as employee satisfaction analysis procedures.
How do you as students benefit from the Duales Studium programme at GHOTEL “hotel & living Essen”, and why did you opt for Duales Studium in the first place?
Ann-Kathrin: Having already had experience of full-time study, I still lacked the “vocation”, a concrete life goal and sense of real connection with a particular career idea. That said, an apprenticeship of some kind was not on the cards for me. The Duales Studium model, however, represented the perfect middle-ground. As such, I’m glad to have come across IUBH and the Duales Studium Tourism degree in the course of my research.
Kim: The opportunity to gain some practical experience through the Duales Studium was very important for me: I believe it’s best to gain a fundamental understanding of the workings of a hotel in order to exceed in the hospitality industry, and to achieve this you need direct experience of all relevant departments. Furthermore, through associating day-to-day with the guests, you expand your sense of empathy, gaining a sense of what’s really important to a particular guest – not something possible through theoretical study alone.
Meryem: And through that, you learn to respect and pay more attention to fellow employees too. Once you’ve worked “on the ground” in every department, you can have real confidence in your professional convictions.
Viviane, how does GHOTEL “hotel & living Essen” develop its up-and-coming talents?
Already during the training we carry out various training courses in the houses, for example wine training. In addition, the Management Trainee Programme progressively develops the ability to handle difficult tasks in general, preparing the trainee for an eventual position at management level. The DS students are also encouraged by the fantastic career prospects they can see at GHOTEL Group, provided they work hard.
Where do see your future taking you as part of GHOTEL “hotel & living Essen”?
Ann-Kathrin: I’m looking forward to getting even more insight into all departments over the next two years. After graduation, I would like to work directly with hotel management in their tasks and responsibilities, thus gaining experience in managing a hotel at all levels.
Kim: I can absolutely see myself undertaking the trainee programme after graduation. Considering the ongoing expansion of the GHOTEL Group, it would be very interesting to get to know their other locations and exciting plans for the future.
Meryem: For me, GHOTEL is a company that offers young up-and-coming talents the opportunity to fulfill their potential. For proof, you need only look at Viviane, who was herself a former Duales Studium partner. At GHOTEL, DS students are taken seriously and given consistent support and encouragement. As long as you work hard and take every chance you can to get involved, your efforts will be rewarded.