AlumniA jetset life: Interview with a Flight Attendant turned Operations Leader

Even with his feet planted firmly on the ground, Matthew Tsoi is spreading his wings in the aviation industry.

After answering a job advertisement for cabin crew, Hotel Institute Montreux graduate Matthew Tsoi has found himself on the fast-track to building a strong career with Cathay Pacific Airways.

With no experience in the airline industry, why do you think you were selected to work as a flight attendant?
During my interview, I was asked a lot of different questions about customer service. This is something you cannot make up without experience. My training at Hotel Institute Montreux and real-world industry experiences through internships gave me this advantage helping me stand out from the competition.

What is unique about a career as Cabin Crew?
Working as cabin crew is a very difficult job physically. Air pressure combined with working nights and jetlag really adds up and can take a toll on your body. You always have to be sharp and attentive, because when you’re up in the skies, truly anything can happen!

My very first flight, a man in my aisle suffered a heart attack 1 hour before landing. There is a series of procedures we are trained for, in these situations and I swiftly executed them to help keep him alive until we could safely land.

What is the Operational Leadership Program?
The intention of the program is to find experienced candidates who have high potential for future leadership development. It is an 8-year program with rotations through 3 separate departments. We are encouraged to look at unfamiliar situations with fresh eyes to bring new and creative ideas forward.

Career opportunities for hotel management graduate

Why do you think you were selected?
We are currently 3 individuals in the program out of 400 that applied! It is a very particular profile they are looking for that is not easy to find. Although I was working as cabin crew, I was always trying to think like a manager. I always consider what I would improve and change if one day I were in management. During my interview, I shared my ideas about how to reduce costs and improve quality.

At HIM, we were taught how to think like an entrepreneur. We were always challenged to think from a new perspective and this is something that I have carried with me until today.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned so far in the program?
Getting exposure to the company decision making policies has been truly eye-opening for me. I think as frontline staff decisions directly affect you but you don’t always understand the reasons behind them. With this program, I’ve been given insights into the big picture of things and I’ve learned how important internal communications are – from the bottom right to the top.

Do you have any advice for current students?
Start planning your career early. I didn’t have a plan and all my internships were secured very last minute which meant that I didn’t always have the best experiences. I regret that a lot! Planning will help ensure you make the most out of your internships as a student and the first years after graduation.

Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts

Matthew graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Degree in Hospitality Management:

Program Details Dates & Deadlines Entry Requirements
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