An alumnus’ ascent to becoming the youngest manager at Minor Hotel Group

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Eight years ago, Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) alumnus Min Ren had little knowledge about hospitality education. Today, at 25, he is the Assistant Food & Beverage Manager at Anantara Siam Bangkok, managing 8 F&B outlets. We caught up with Chinese graduate Min Ren to find out more about his fast track to success in his hospitality journey.

How did you find out about Minor Hotel Group’s Ascent Graduate Management Program?
The first time I heard about Minor Hotel Group was at the International Recruitment Forum. I spoke to the HR team and was very impressed by the company’s development plan, especially in Asia Pacific. They explained to me that the company was looking for its first batch of hospitality management graduates to undergo the Ascent Graduate Management Programan 18-month fast track program aimed at high performing individuals with the potential to become General Manager or Group Director levels in their preferred departments.

Wow so you were in the pioneer batch! How difficult was it to get into the program?
Yes, I was one of seven people selected for the first Ascent Graduate Management Program. Getting into the program was not as simple as submitting a CV! I also had to produce a creative video introducing myself and explaining why I wanted to join the program followed by a Skype interview with one of the General Managers of a hotel under the group.

 

“The interview process was initially quite daunting as I was fresh out of school, with little job interview experience. It was the preparation and career counselling I received from HIM during my studies that boosted my confidence and allowed me to overcome my fears to do well in the interview process.”

 

Was the training what you expected it would be like?
It was one of the most challenging experiences in my career so far! I completed my first 6-month rotation at Anantara Riverside Resort & Spa in Bangkok and then moved on to a one-year training with the Reservations and Revenue department at Anantara The Palm Dubai. Whilst I was working and undergoing training at both properties, I also had to complete projects in guest service excellence and revenue maximisation. I thus had to ensure I could balance my work with corporate office for the Ascent program and on property for my training.

As intensive as it was, the training was very valuable in expanding my knowledge in hotel operation and also helped me develop my leadership skills. I also had tremendous support from the senior management team who always kept in touch to ensure that my training was going well and to lend their assistance when needed. It was also through this management-training program that I became more certain that my interest and strength is in F&B, which thus led me to landing my current role.

Tell us a little more about your current role.
I am now an Assistant F&B manager at Anantara Siam Bangkok, managing 8 F&B outlets. We have about 270 people in the F&B department and I am the youngest manager on property. My main role is to oversee the daily F&B operations and teams of 8 outlets in the hotel. I control and monitor F&B costings, manpower planning and work closely with other departments on upcoming promotions and marketing activities for all outlets.

What are some of the challenges you face as a young manager?
As F&B is very much a team-oriented department, I initially faced challenges in in getting the respect of the team as many people saw me as young and inexperienced. Having done my training at another hotel in Bangkok, I knew Thai people to be very hardworking and the work culture here is that people accept you if they see you working as hard as they are.

 

“It was thus important for me to prove my worth to the team and I did so by showing the team that I was willing to do any work that was required of me instead of simply managing others.”

 

What keeps you motivated to continue working in hospitality?
Hospitality is an industry that is constantly changing. Even with the increasing reliance on technology, it is still very much a ‘people-oriented’ business and it is this unique service that we can offer guests that keeps me motivated.

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