President's Corner

Entrepreneurial spirits take wing

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

Many young adults have a common goal once they have earned a bachelor degree: to get a job that gives them a reliable income and opportunities to make a career in the field of their choice. New graduates in tourism and hospitality in particular may aspire to work abroad and to work in a multicultural environment.

Conglomerates in the field of international tourism and hospitality lay out various paths that lead new graduates toward broader horizons. That is to be expected, given the global scope of these companies and the multitude of businesses in which they are invested. But the field of tourism and hospitality is also fertile ground for entrepreneurs of all kinds, ranging from souvenir sellers to online travel agents to restaurateurs.

IFT recognises the diversity of interests of its students, and the various opportunities offered by tourism and hospitality. With that in mind, we are continually improving our curriculum with a view to developing among our students the skills needed by entrepreneurs.

Many of our courses entail doing hands-on projects in partnership with Macao companies or other bodies. Recently, Heritage Management undergraduates and a heritage consultant joined forces to develop content for a mobile phone app that displays illustrated maps showing where to find hidden gems of Macao’s heritage. Tourism Retail and Marketing Management students regularly help small- or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Macao to draw up marketing and promotion strategies, to come up with ideas for redesigning shops and displaying their wares, and to develop new revenue streams. One of the latest projects entailed students selling souvenirs in a renovated shopping area in one of the city’s ancient streets.

Our efforts to cultivate entrepreneurs include a course on entrepreneurship, which any undergraduate can take. The course teaches much more than what can be found in the textbooks. The students serve as consultants to SMEs, attend talks given by entrepreneurs or Government officials, and visit shops and other businesses. Finally, each student is invited to put in writing his or her own idea for an enterprise, and a business plan for starting it up.

The odds suggest that relatively few graduates will start their own businesses but the entrepreneurial spirit and enterprising behaviour that IFT cultivates are seldom wasted. They are qualities highly valued by corporate employers and can help IFT graduates climb the career ladder more rapidly. Most importantly, an enterprising mindset encourages our graduates to think out of the box and prepares them to be agents of change for a better society.