Alumni Main Headline

Well-rounded IFT education can open career doors also outside tourism: alumnus Victor Zhu

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

The quality of education provided by IFT ensures graduates are well equipped to seize opportunities in terms of personal development and career progression, even in areas not directly related to their bachelor’s degree. That is according to Mr. Victor Zhu, holder of a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Management degree from IFT, who is now a consultant for a hotel project, after having worked in financial technology – a field also known as fintech.

“My hometown is Suzhou, a famous tourist destination in the Chinese province of Jiangsu welcoming millions of visitors each year,” Mr Zhu says. “I thought that hotel management could be a promising profession,” he adds.

Mr. Zhu says coming to IFT to study seemed like a “good choice” from the start. “As a public educational institution, it is supported by the [Macao] Government, which gave me confidence regarding the Institute’s quality of education. Moreover, Macao has a highly-developed tourism industry, and I felt that I should go to a different place [to study] for the experience.”

Mr. Zhu graduated in 2013. His first job after graduating was at a friend’s firm, providing support for marketing and sales projects for international hotel brands and banks.

“We mainly provided services for the financial sector, to clients like UnionPay International Co Ltd, VISA Inc and Bank of China, as well as renowned hotel and catering groups such as Shangri-La, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton,” he says. “Later, I was invited to join one of our clients – UnionPay International – and assumed the position of product manager.”

At UnionPay International, Mr. Zhu was involved in various projects, including the development and management of a system enabling customers to enjoy tax refunds as appropriate.

From hospitality to IT

Mr. Zhu says the quality of education provided by IFT was an essential element in his ability to develop a successful career in fintech – even though his IFT degree is in Hotel Management.

“It is an education that combines management with hotel operations, ranging from legal affairs to consumer behaviour; from tourism product design to information technology,” he says.

“Most of what I learned at IFT was achieved through practical projects. These allowed me to understand how to quickly master skills in different fields through hands-on learning, which is a reason why I could build a career in the fintech industry having a Hotel Management degree,” the IFT alumnus adds.

Having the opportunity for an internship was a crucial component of his education at IFT, Mr. Zhu says. Students studying for a bachelor’s degree at the Institute are required to complete a 6-month internship in Year 3. They can opt for a placement either in Macao or further afield, in places such as in the United States, France or the Maldives.

Mr. Zhu was an intern at the Grand Hyatt Macau hotel. He later joined the team that opened the Sheraton Grand Macao hotel, also as an intern.

“I was involved in different areas related to the launch of the hotel, such as service-quality management, procurement, telephone extension arrangement, and recruitment,” he recalls. “As the only intern there at that time, the pressure was enormous.” But, he adds, “it pushed me to grow quickly” in professional terms. “What I learned at that time is still greatly beneficial for me now.”

Apart from his internship experiences, the IFT alumnus also recalls the importance of collaborating with IFT colleagues on group projects.

“Sometimes we had to work until very late each day for group projects, which was actually very similar to a workplace experience. Although we always said group projects were tough, these proved to be the most practical and memorable learning experiences for us,” he says.

The alumnus adds: “We learned how to work with colleagues and tackle difficulties together. We also learned a lot of communication skills through the interaction with other colleagues, lecturers, and with customers at the IFT Educational Restaurant and Educational Hotel at the Institute – Pousada de Mong-Há – as well as with colleagues we met during the internship.”

Mr. Zhu recently left UnionPay International and is now a consultant for the development and operation of a hotel in Phuket, Thailand under the YOO Collection brand from United Kingdom-based YOO Hotels and Resorts. He is also providing support services to entrepreneurs across sectors ranging from sports to fintech.

Mr. Zhu says: “Young people should really try different areas before eventually deciding the one that suits them best, through combining their interests with their competitive advantages.”

President’s Corner

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