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Liza Toral graduated from Hotel Institute Montreux over a decade ago and shares how the school prepared her for real life challenges and what it’s like working as Head of Sales in Dubai.
When I was still a highschool student in Latvia, I came across a picture of Hotel Institute Montreux in a brochure and instantly fell in love with it! The breathtaking Swiss scenery in that brochure stuck in my mind for a long time. I later learned that Hotel Institute Montreux had a great reputation and offered excellent internship opportunities, which also appealed to my parents. I am an outgoing person, and it didn't take long for them to agree that, not only was hospitality the right choice for me, but that Switzerland was one of the best places for me to study it.
Not only was hospitality the right choice for me, but that Switzerland was one of the best places for me to study it
Leaving home and moving to Switzerland was effortless and very smooth. The school made me feel included, like I belonged. You don't really get to feel like an outcast there because everyone is in the same situation as you. The school organizes many trips and networking events, so you are able to find like-minded people very quickly. Not to mention, the many interactive activities also helped me strike a balance between my studies and free time, which made the transition feel less stressful.
The school made me feel included, like I belonged
One of my favorite things about the school is that both the students and lecturers come from all corners of the world. You are constantly exposed to different cultures and perspectives on the world, teaching you the soft skills needed to succeed in the international arena. At HIM you become a part of an international family. To this day, it doesn't matter which part of the world I visit – I have friends everywhere.
Not only does HIM set you up for professional success, it also prepares you for the kinds of challenges you will actually face in the workplace. You are trained to be confident in any situation. As a student, you learn everything from housekeeping to general management, which thoroughly prepares you for your two internships.
You are trained to be confident in any situation
I was fortunate to complete two amazing internships during my time at HIM and I feel that this hands-on experience really gave me a competitive advantage later on when I was searching for my first full-time job. My first internship took place in Zurich for Intercontinental Hotels Group, the second one was in Barcelona at the Ritz-Carlton. By the time I graduated, I had three job offers waiting. After graduation, I was invited to work for COMO Hotels and Resorts in London, and later, I relocated with the company to the Maldives, where I took on the role of a Sales & Marketing Executive.
Studying at one of the most prestigious hospitality schools in the world doesn't guarantee you a golden ticket in life – you also need to work hard, be able to prove yourself in the job market, and act appropriately in difficult situations.
Liza has been working in Dubai since 2016 as Head of Sales for Farah Experiences LLC, who operate three of the Middle East’s leading theme parks.
Her job includes managing key accounts, planning and implementing revenue and sales strategies, and driving revenue.