Why did you choose to study Hospitality Business Management at the School of Events, Tourism and Hospitality Management?
I wanted to do a degree in something to do with the leisure industry, when I came to an Open Day I was able to speak to some of the course tutors and current students about the Hospitality course and they were so passionate about hospitality and Leeds as a city. They explained the diverse career paths available, work experience opportunities, the practical side of the course and the business knowledge I would be taught and it all just sounded completely up my street.
Does the course give opportunity to work with industry?
There’s a high level of industry involvement, at the moment we’re working on a consultancy project with the Queens Hotel, looking into different ways to increase revenue and incorporate trends across the sectors. Yesterday we went down to Queens and were given a presentation and a behind the scenes tour by the General Manager, spoke to the Head of HR and met the Head Chef, which was so interesting and informative. It’s just amazing how much interaction we have with real businesses and the opportunities we get to work on live briefs. When Victoria Gate first opened we delivered a presentation to Hammerson, the investment company. We pitched our own concept for a Wimbledon themed welcome event, they really liked our idea, which was a big confidence boost!
What other opportunities are there on the course?
The tutors go out of their way to provide opportunities that are of interest but that I probably wouldn’t have thought of, or gone out of my way to find. For example, in first year we got a health and safety qualification and we also did a barista course, it’s little added value things like this that make such a difference, it’s another string to my bow and when it comes to applying for jobs I’m confident I’ll have skills, experiences and qualities that other candidates won’t have. Course tutors have loads of contacts in the industry, for example, I’m doing my dissertation at the moment and my tutor has so many contacts who own and run restaurants, so he’s been able to put me in touch with them which has been extremely helpful.
How did you secure your placement?
The opportunity to do a placement year was one of the reasons I chose the course. Tutors provided plenty of lectures on placements and discussed in depth the sorts of placements that were available. We were told about a Disney presentation that was happening, which came about through a good relationship the tutors have with Disney, so I turned up and had my interview there and then and secured my placement. I learnt so much during my year working there, I picked up a different assignment every day and got to experience so many different aspects of Disney, including becoming fluent in Spanish and I absolutely loved it. So many of my course friends got an amazing placement, one was working at a Country Club in America and another at a Park Lane hotel in London!
What is Leeds like as a place to study Hospitality Business Management?
I fell in love with Leeds as a city and in particular Headingley Campus, everyone is so friendly, you pass people and have a chat, it’s just so lovely. Leeds has over 1000 restaurants and bars and as a cosmopolitan city, Leeds attracts lots of new investment so there’s always new and exciting hospitality businesses popping up.
How have your tutors supported you?
Some modules are more exciting than others, but that’s just down to personal preference. Our lecturers work so hard to make all of the topics we cover enjoyable and interactive. Our course is quite small, so there’s so much opportunity to get to know everyone and make friends, it’s a home away from home. The tutors are great, they know us all personally and by name and I feel as though I can contact them with any questions or worries I might have. They respond really promptly to emails are definitely o the extra mile to support us in our studies.
What sort of career will you be equipped to go into after graduation?
I get offended when people say, ‘oh hospitality is just restaurants and hotels’, because there’s so many opportunities in the industry, from brand, accommodation and catering managers, to head chefs and restaurant managers, to working in marketing or refining the hospitality experience for the consumer. This course has really opened up a diverse set of new opportunities that I would now feel confident to explore.