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Chance entry into hospitality

Published on Thursday, 21 Jun 2012
Emily Yick
Photo: Nora Tam

Emily Yick Man-ting, an operations trainee in intellectual capital and quality, thinks of her career in the hotel industry as a wonderful coincidence. Despite being a hotel management graduate, she was not sure if she wanted to join the sector. However, a job interview at Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong changed her mind. She wanted to find a job that would allow her to express her real self – an idea the hotel’s director greatly appreciated. In the two years she has spent at the hotel, Yick has embraced every opportunity to learn how to become a true professional in the hospitality business. She talks to Wong Yat-hei  

What’s your academic background?
I am a graduate in hotel and tourism management from the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

How do you start your day?
Every morning, we have a departmental briefing, which allows us to go through the highlights of the day and share any news. After that, I catch up with my mentor before starting work. My daily schedule is always flexible, but there are some regular tasks such as leave, casual management and contract signing with staff.
What does your job entail?
The major focus of my job is the field of human resources (HR). I work on compensation and benefits, leave management, HR services and office administration. Besides working in the intellectual capital and quality department, I was offered a chance for a job rotation to the front office, F&B and housekeeping.
What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
The biggest challenge comes from job prioritising, since there are often ad hoc tasks for me to handle. Managing my time well and getting things done before deadline is not easy.

What have you learned about your career and what are your plans?
When I first joined the hotel, I had no knowledge of HR, except for the theories that I had learned in university. All the necessary skills and techniques were acquired from my mentor, as well as from day-to-day operations.

Of the various skills I have learned, I think the most important is interpersonal ability. Due to the nature of my work, interaction and communication with all departments is required. Ensuring effective communication with colleagues of different nationalities and personalities is a critical but challenging task.

Still, it is interesting to discover cultural and generational differences – as well as finding out ways to overcome them.

I have no concrete career plan in mind because I think life is unpredictable. Yet I hope that whatever steps I take will involve fruitful learning experiences.
Any advice for interns?

This is an industry full of opportunities, funny moments, and creative ideas. If you enjoy meeting and chatting with people, it is a great career choice. After all, it is a mutual matching process. Listen to your heart and you will find the answer.

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