Alumni Main Headline

New alumni association leader has a 2020 vision – and it’s busy

IFTM Alumni Association Executive Committee President Ms. Kitty Tong

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

A seminar on smart tourism and an array of discounts for members are among the fresh ideas that IFTM Alumni Association Executive Committee President Ms. Kitty Tong has planned for the group this year. Ms. Tong was elected to the chair of the committee on 30 October last year and will serve a 2-year term.

One of Ms. Tong’s first tasks as head of the association was to run one of the IFTM stalls at the 2019 Macau Grand Prix in November. The association has a stall at the event every year, to raise funds. “The weather was warmer than usual during the Grand Prix, so all our cold drinks sold out”, she says, smiling.

Ms. Tong says the association will use the profit from the stall for a variety of projects. One undertaking, tentatively set for spring, is a seminar on the use of big data in tourism, hospitality and electronic payments, which the association intends to put on with the help of e-commerce company Alibaba. The seminar will be tailored to IFTM undergraduates. “Macao is being developed into a smart city and this is also the future for tourism,” Ms. Tong says.

The association also intends to distribute a discount card to its members and IFTM students. Ms. Tong says she got the idea from a seminar on entrepreneurship held by the association in 2018. Many IFTM alumni have opened their own businesses, so she hopes they will be willing to offer discounts to other members of the IFTM community.

The IFTM Alumni Association is hoping to get office space on the IFTM Taipa Campus. The Institute is refurbishing the building there that once housed the University of Macau Library.

Voice of experience

The IFTM Alumni Association was established in September 2002 to involve IFTM alumni more closely in the Macao community, to strengthen the links between the Institute and its alumni, and to support the development of IFTM, in particular, and of the tourism and hospitality industries in Macao more generally.

One important function of the association is to regularly hold meetings of IFTM alumni and undergraduates that inform students about the health of the job market.

Ms. Tong says the association offers invites to alumni that hold senior positions in the tourism and hospitality industries, so they can give advice about developing a career. She says IFTM students can learn from the working experience of alumni to take the best pathways to success in careers in tourism and hospitality, and to attach less importance to the pay in their first jobs after graduation.

Ms. Tong graduated from IFTM in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Management. Although she could have taken a better-paid job, she became an accounting clerk for Macao casino operator SJM, which gave her enough free time to further her studies.

“I believed a bachelor’s degree was not enough,” Ms. Tong says. She took a part-time, distance-learning programme leading to a master’s degree in tourism and hospitality management awarded by a British university.

Ms. Tong worked for SJM for 8 years, climbing the career ladder to a senior position. Her studies at IFTM proved helpful, even though she worked in accounting, because they taught her about dealing with company financials, and gave her experience of managing and leading individuals and groups.

“We had a lot of group projects as students, from the beginning to the end of each semester,” Ms. Tong says. She spent many evenings in the IFTM study room working on group projects, but she says the hard work paid off because it taught her how to lead.

Ms. Tong now works in insurance where, she believes, her studies at IFTM still prove useful. “We had a class focusing on human resources,” she says. “Nowadays, I need to do some recruitment of insurance agents, so that knowledge helps me a lot.”

President’s Corner

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