Jenny, why did you decide to attend Vatel in Martigny, Switzerland?
Finding a good hotel management school in Switzerland is a bit like finding a beautiful luxury hotel in Paris: there are so many of them with an excellent reputation that the hardest thing to do is to actually choose one. Vatel was a great discovery and a very good choice. The Martigny School had just opened when I chose it. And as I’m from the Valais region, it was just perfect for me. I loved its curriculum right from the very beginning. Thanks to the global outreach of the Vatel campus network, I succeeded in finding an international school, right on my doorstep. I loved its diversity and its spirit: partly theoretical courses, partly practical work and internships, which, in my opinion, are the best way to learn. And as I had just come back from a trip to Canada, courses in English were perfect for me.
What image would you give Vatel Switzerland?
A multi-colored rainbow! I had the opportunity of meeting professors and students from all over the world. I also was aware of all the departments a hotel has even before I did my first internship, thanks to the Vatel Hotel, which is right on campus. There was always something new, always lots of events like conferences, banquets, weddings, and so on. That’s a huge asset for this school.
I have great memories of the internships I did in Gstaad and Singapore. It’s a great honor to have worked in such prestigious hotels. Thanks to Vatel, we learn the right way of working, we’re part of the staff and recognized as such as of the very first days in our internships.
How did you get this job in Myanmar?
This is where I did my second year internship. I really liked the hotel. I learned a lot of things and my manager offered me a job once I graduated. I jumped at this opportunity. Since then, I’ve got more responsibilities and am still learning every day.
What exactly do you do?
My key missions concern the hotel’s public relations. It’s quite an asset when you speak several languages. That allows you to be closer to the hotel guests, to better meet their expectations.
I have to train our staff members, do strict internal audits and keep trying to find new ideas in order to expand and maintain our standards. That means a lot of hard work and flexibility.
Tell us a bit more about your hotel.
Our hotel has 20 luxurious “Cottage Suites,” that respect the environment. They were all built using traditional local techniques on piles for modern travelers, who are mainly from the West right now. Guest are able to experience a unique moment of comfort and simplicity in this typical village near Inle Lake. The Lodge where I work gives its guests the possibility of exploring the region as we organize dugout canoe trips, as well as regional cultural and ecological visits.
So is Myanmar a land of opportunities for Vateliens?
The hotel business is booming here. As Myanmar has become a trendy destination, hotel construction has really exploded. The environment has quickly changed, in spite of the lack of infrastructures. Sometimes we’re surprised, but you have to be really patient. I think it’s awesome to be here now. It’s really interesting. As our guests are mainly from the West, it’s very enriching for me to be the mediator between our guests and the hotel. And local culture really interests me too and I’m currently learning how to speak Burmese. I do hope that they’ll know how to retain their values, their incredible smiles, while adapting themselves to today’s world.
Do you want to stay here for a long time?
For the moment, I’d like to continue to gain more experience. I’ve already got lots of responsibilities and I’d like to continue working in this field as I love my job. Later on, I’d like to open a Lodge myself. It will be a lot of hard work and I’d like to prepare myself as well as possible. Before that though, I’ll do a more specialized Master’s Degree.
Anything you’d like to add, Jenny?
I’d like to take advantage of this interview to thank everyone who shared their smiles, their advice and who allowed me to be where I am today. Everyone has, at some time in their lives, an opportunity. You just have to recognize it and know how to make the most of it.