Career Advice Industrial Changes from Generation Y & Millennials

Roller-coaster voyage at the Renaissance

Yoyo Chan, a finance management trainee on Marriott’s Voyage programme at the Renaissance Shanghai Pudong Hotel, got her chance to enter the hotel industry when she did an internship in the accounting department of the Renaissance Zurich Hotel. She tells Wong Yat-hei that after completing her internship, she decided to stay with Marriott and join its Voyage programme while beginning her career on the mainland.

What’s your academic background?
I graduated from the HTMi Hotel and Tourism Management Institute, a hotel management school in Switzerland, with a BSc degree in international tourism and hospitality management.

How do you start your day?
I like to start with a cup of tea. I always like to plan my day before I actually start working as I believe it makes my thoughts clearer and allows me to have better time management. What I usually do is go through my on-hand tasks in the morning and allocate my day accordingly. After that I check my e-mail to see if there are any add-on tasks or things that need to be taken care of. At 10am every day, our department meets to share updates and news about the hotel and the brand.

What does your job entail?
During my first year on the Voyage programme at the Marriott Nanning Hotel, I rotated through all the sections in the hotel’s finance department, focusing on the operations of the finance department. This gave me a thorough overview of the whole department and an understanding of how each section is linked.

I have now been transferred to the Renaissance Shanghai Pudong Hotel for my second year of training and will be focusing more on management and strategy.

What are the major challenges you’ve encountered so far?
I would say the difference in working culture, since it’s my first time working in China. It was interesting for me to learn how to liaise with people in a more “Chinese” way, which is quite different to what I experienced back in Switzerland.

Another big thing is the urge to familiarise myself with all the accounting applications and procedures, and be qualified to achieve a managerial position within these two years.

Though I had the advantage of working with Marriott before joining this programme, the more I learn, the more I realise how little I know. I had a high expectation of myself before joining this programme since it was quite a big decision for me to work on the mainland as a management trainee for two years, so I am very anxious about my learning results all the time.

What are your professional plans?
I plan to stay in the finance department after I graduate from the Voyage programme, hopefully as a chief accountant. One day I would like to work in the regional or corporate office, in order to gain some property experience. Meanwhile, I am planning to study to become a CPA (certified public accountant), which is essential to continue working in finance.

What advice can you give those interested in the industry?
“Passion” is the key word. The hospitality world is all about people and it is really important for us not to lose our passion, not only for the industry itself but also for the work you do. You need to enjoy it. Though it seems to many that our world is full of excitement and glitter, which it is in many ways, it is also very tough at the same time. Guest behaviour and preferences change in this modern world so we are facing new challenges every day. For those who are planning to join us, I would say welcome to this roller-coaster world and keep your passion for it – you never know what’s coming next.