Hospitality and Tourism Management graduate Ahana Das remembers how exhilarated she was when she organised her first event during her final semester at the Singapore Campus of James Cook University (JCU). She was part of the organising committee for the JCU's poster presentations and her duties included arranging for sponsorships and liaising with participants.
"It gave me confidence and helped me develop strong communication skills, improving my working relations with my teammates," she says.
The bubbly 24-year-old developed an interest in hospitality while studying Aeronautical Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology. That's when she realised that the technical course did not suit her personality.
Some of her peers were studying hospitality at the time and she found herself taking an interest in their assignments. After talking to her friends, Ms Das became interested in event planning and communications in the hospitality sector.
She chose to study at JCU because the university has three intakes a year, giving her the window to join immediately. She also found out that JCU's Bachelor of Business (Majoring in Hospitality and Tourism Management) was extensive and that it would equip her with practical knowledge of the industry.
The two-year programme allowed her to acquire knowledge and skills on various aspects of hospitality and tourism, including club and gaming management, crowd behavior and operations management.
A taste of hotel operations
A few months after graduating from JCU, Ms Das joined the Brand Standards team at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) as an intern. The 11-month internship gave her a first-hand look at how a hotel operates and how its standards are maintained.
As part of IHG's Brand Standards team, Ms Das reviewed proposed changes, updated approved submissions on the hotel group's content management system and presented key changes to colleagues. She also contributed to the creation of brand standards for newly-acquired hotels including Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants and Regent Hotels and Resorts.
Skills such as event management and presentation are crucial for Ms Das to thrive in the hospitality industry. And her time at JCU prepared her well for her internship, which ended earlier this month. "The course at JCU helped me to open up and gain confidence. Our tutorial work was full of practical experiences."
Enrolling in an entirely new course was daunting at first but Ms Das felt at home at JCU thanks to its vibrant mix of students. "The staff, professors and students were open-minded towards all kinds of situations and welcomed people from all cultures."
She singled out lecturer Pamela Wildheart as her source of inspiration. "Ms Wildheart taught me the importance of a meticulous and focused attitude. This is an important life skill as it helps me become better at my job."
Now that she has completed another chapter in her hospitality journey, Ms Das is looking forward to her first full-time job, which she has yet to confirm. For now, she is happy that she found her true calling in life.
"The hospitality industry is all about making people feel good, being kind and going the extra mile for others. This is what I like to do and is true to my personality."
For more information on the Bachelor of Business (Majoring in Hospitality & Tourism Management), visit: http://jcu.sg/htm1219ST