How an internship can shape your future

How an internship can shape your future

Sabina Zamfirescu shows great self-confidence in an exceptionally demanding internship and comes out the other side the better for it.

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By Swiss Education Group

Sabina Zamfirescu

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Dive into the inspiring journey of our featured alumna, exploring how her time at our university paved the path to her current success. Read here about how Sabina had to literally climb the tallest mountain in the region to succeed in her internship. Not only did she succeed, but she came out much stronger and more self-confident for not having given up.

Hello! My name is Sabina, and I’m from Romania. I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from HIM in March of 2023 and decided to pursue my master’s degree directly after graduation, which brought me to César Ritz Colleges Switzerland where I currently study. I chose to go into the field of entrepreneurship because I want to create my own business in the future, and that is what fuels me now to keep going and to strive to succeed. I am passionate about many things – from skiing to traveling and exploring. I like to think of myself as an active person.

 

What company did you work for during your internship, and what role did you play in the exciting world of hospitality?

I worked at an employee experience agency in Romania called Exploratist, which specializes in managing events, from small workshops to full-scale events for a thousand people. Their events mainly center around employee recognition and staff retention.

My role was as a Junior Account Executive, and my tasks were varied –liaising with clients, sending proposals, coordinating with venues, arranging client visits, maintaining communication with catering and entertainment outlets, ordering everything necessary for the decorations, handling all transactions, and keeping the cash flow in order.

I was also tasked with translating documents and presentations, facilitating online well-being workshops for companies, handling all social media platforms, and publishing articles on LinkedIn and Facebook. And last but not least, I organized and sent out a monthly newsletter and kept the client database updated.

Now that I look back on my long list of responsibilities, I feel a rather strong sense of pride that I could multitask and keep so many different balls in the air at once. That’s a skill that is required in all busy international hospitality enterprises, so I’m confident in my ability to handle anything a future job may bring.

 

Picture your internship experience as a spice in a recipe. How has this flavorful experience seasoned your perception of the hospitality industry?

The ingredient that best represents my internship is chili powder: intense, explosive, and unpredictable. My internship experience was full of activities – there was never a dull moment. I found myself wrapped up in my work and fully enjoying it, from helping facilitate workshop hosting to editing and arranging online articles. The constant communication with my colleagues, even outside working hours, brought me closer to all of them, creating a whole shelf full of cohesive spices. Some colleagues were as sweet as cinnamon; others were more intense, like wasabi. But the interesting part is that when we were all put into the company’s recipe, we created the tastiest meal ever.

 

Every journey has its mountains to climb. What challenges did you face during your internship, and how did you conquer them?

My internship was wonderful – almost no day was the same. As a result of this variety, I faced a lot of challenges, from having to learn how to conduct myself during sales sessions with clients to taking ownership of projects and leading in their organization.

That said, my main project and challenge literally involved climbing a mountain! I was tasked with organizing a folk festival on top of one of Romania's tallest and most beautiful mountains – at an altitude of 1700m. The hike up the mountain took six hours, and having done that, I felt both mentally and physically tested, yet rejuvenated. Having to come up with the plan from ground zero and seeing the fruits of our work and the project come to life was the highest feeling of satisfaction I had felt since learning that I was going abroad for my university studies! Satisfaction comes from being challenged, and this project was challenging. But, with every challenge, we learn, and, in this case, I learned how to speak up and be firm with my boundaries. Had I not, I would have been working non-stop, day and night, undermining my ability to do the job well.

Sabina and her colleagesWork is fun when you have great colleagues.

Reflecting on your internship, what moment or aspect do you feel has acted as a catalyst for your personal development?

The moment that first comes to mind was the biggest event we planned that summer. We organized a conference for more than a thousand people, and we had to create entertainment and interactive sessions for the participants in a great hall. I learned for the first time how to conduct a large-scale event from A to Z and how much preparation and rehearsals are needed. I edited the master of ceremony's script and had to be extremely mindful of the crucial timing involved.

It was interesting to see how everyone coped with the stress and how every employee's role, including mine, was vital to the success of the event. The catalyst was when something didn't work during the event – technical issues, for example – and I saw how smoothly and simply the other hosts took control of the situation, ensuring that the event went off without a hitch. Seeing professionals put on the spot and not batting an eye at the issue was something I will never forget. It strengthened my belief that as long as you remain composed and continue as if everything is going according to plan, the clients will not notice anything wrong. I can't think of many lessons more worth learning  than that in this field.

 

What specific skills or qualities do you think are the key skills for thriving in the dynamic hospitality business?

Through this experience, I witnessed and learned a few key attributes. I have discovered that to thrive in any professional industry, you need to:

  • be able to adapt to any change that comes your way and to think quickly on your feet.
  • always be proactive and try to anticipate situations that may arise.
  • remember the importance of body language and your demeanor when interacting with clients–always strive for the utmost professionalism.
  • never doubt yours kills and knowledge – have faith in yourself!
  • always work as a team and trust that your colleagues have your back.

Anyone who can keep these dynamics in mind should have a successful career in any profession they choose.
 

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By Swiss Education Group