Hospitality Studies for a Career beyond Hospitality

Interview with a Hotel Institute Montreux Alumnus from Norway

With countless options out there, how do you choose a career that’s right for you?

Like many young graduates, this week’s interviewee is on a quest to find the right career match for her. Synne, who recently graduated from Hotel Institute Montreux, thinks that it is important to explore as many options to find the one that sticks. Luckily, she says, a degree in hospitality opens the doors to prospects beyond the field of hospitality. In this interview, Synne talks about why she chose to intern in the transport industry, reveals the surprising link between working in a hotel and a railroad administration, and explains why hospitality skills are in demand right now.

Graduation day with my friends.
Graduation day with my friends.

Hi Synne! Congratulations on graduating from Hotel Institute Montreux. Do you feel well prepared to start building your career?

When I started studying at Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM), I didn’t know what I wanted to do precisely, and I still change my mind now and then. However, what is excellent about the hospitality studies at HIM is that it equips you with versatile skills applicable in so many different industries. After all, every business wants to offer its clients a pleasurable experience, and hospitality is all about that.

Have you worked outside the hospitality industry yourself?

Yes, I am actually currently interning at Statens Vegvesen (Norwegian Public Roads Administration) as a caseworker, which, some might say, is not the usual path for a person with a degree in hospitality.

What inspired you for this shift?

As I mentioned before, I was still trying to figure out what was the right career path for me. I wanted to try something different. Also, I was ready to come back home to Norway. I am so glad I took this chance, because it has helped me to see my career possibilities in a new light! Now I realize that the opportunities are much broader than what I initially thought – they go beyond the hospitality industry.

School activity. Picking up litter with other students to encourage social responsibility in our community.
School activity. Picking up litter with other students to encourage social responsibility in our community.

You first interned at the Radisson Blu Royal Park in a Rooms Division role. How is the experience different now that you work in the transport industry?

I think the relationships between me and the customers in both workplaces were very different. I went from working with hotel guests that seek assistance to have a great and enjoyable time, to working with customers that need a very specific type of help regarding vehicles, driver’s licenses, and such. Surprisingly though, working at the Statens Vegvesen, the relationships are even more personal as I get to interact with the same customers more.

Despite these differences, I now see that hospitality is just as important in other industries. That’s what I like about my degree, too – it’s so versatile!

At my first internship at the then Radisson Blu Royal Park.
At my first internship at the then Radisson Blu Royal Park.

What was the most valuable lesson you took from doing your internships?

I’ve had great experiences in both! I especially enjoyed the people that I got to work with. Actually, because of my wonderful colleagues, I realized that being able to give and receive support for each other is what makes up a great place to work. Some days can feel long and the workload might get heavy. But if you have a great team that is supporting and uplifting, work can be so much fun.

Group photo from term 4 with seven different nationalities.
Group photo from term 4 with seven different nationalities.

How meaningful are the relationships you’ve developed at HIM?

At Hotel Institute Montreux, the friends you make aren’t the “usual” type you see a couple of times per week. We actually spend a lot of time together. We study together, we eat together and go traveling together, too! It is fair to say that I have made some great friends here, and without them, the whole Bachelor’s experience would not have been as fun.

How does Switzerland compare to Norway?

When I first came to Switzerland, I felt immediately at home. It has beautiful nature and calm culture. It’s actually quite similar to Norway!

One thing that is different, though, is that Switzerland is so close to everything. I love traveling, so a fabulous destination is always just a train ride away for a weekend adventure!

If you were to use just one word to describe the culture of Hotel Institute Montreux – what would it be and why?

I think it would be diversity. Both students and teachers at HIM come from many different backgrounds, and the school works hard on representing as many cultures through theme nights, culture days, and such.

Even though it is not part of the official Bachelor’s program, such “cultural education,” so to say, comes with studying here by default. Just by interacting with fellow students from all over the world daily, I have learned so much about our differences and similarities. It has broadened my mind as to how I see others.

To wrap up, could you share a heartwarming memory from daily life at the university?

Looking back, one of the things I loved the most was the cozy mornings at HIM. Living together with other students on campus, there was always someone to grab a coffee with and have a little chat with before the day started. It is one of those little perks of studying at the Hotel Institute Montreux that makes studying there such a one-of-a-kind experience.

Thank you Synne for sharing your experiences! All the best to you in your career explorations!