A Vatel 2013 graduate, Alexandra Clauss has worked for nearly two years at the Mirador Resort & Spa, a 5-star luxury hotel right in the center of the Swiss Riviera between Lausanne and Montreux, on the Vevey foot hills and the Mont-Pelerin mountains.
She loves her job as the Events Manager and was present at the Vatel Switzerland Careers Forum in Martigny, on Saturday, April 30th, to talk about the wealth and diversity of lines of work there are in the international hospitality industry.
Let’s take a peek at her Success Story.
“It’s hard to know what you want to do when you’re still in high school and even after you’ve graduated or you’ve obtained your gymnasia maturity, as we call it in Switzerland.
So I started my undergraduate studies with a two-year vocational degree in international trade, and then continued in this line with the MBA Vatel. I’ve always been attracted to the hospitality industry, and it seemed to be self-evident, the longer I thought about my career. I chose Vatel because of its reputation and after having spoken with Vatel Lyon students in a student fair.
All of my courses were interesting, but I really appreciated what we learned in the Taxation course. It’s maybe not the most “rock n’ roll” course, but everything I studied in it really helps me today and I remember everything. Each notion was explained simply and had down to earth examples.
I also appreciated how our theoretical courses were followed by professional application courses in the Vatel Restaurant, in the Vatel Gourmet boutique or at the Vatel Cafe. We learn a lot about ourselves such as how we obey orders and then how we manage others.
At the same time, we learn more about gastronomy, oenology, table arts, etc. And above all, we make great friends!
Thanks to the relationships the Vatel has with its partner hotels, we’ve got the opportunity to do our internships in the most beautiful hotels on earth.
I did my first internship at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila and my second one in southern France, in the Guests Relations department at the Bastide Saint Antoine, with the Chef, Jacques Chibois in Grasse.
Very different experiences, but both matched my personality. These were customized internships that I never would have been able to do without my School’s support.
On the road to a job
I started working right away after I graduated with my MBA Vatel.I started by working during the summer in St. Tropez, where I saved money to finance a six-month trip to Australia, Sri Lanka, Singapore and finally, Japan.
When you travel to different countries, you learn a lot about your own personality. I left by myself, and I’d advise others to do the same, because you’re alone with yourself, with your qualities and your drawbacks.
Then I came to work in Switzerland, where I was hired right away at the Relais & Chateau chain, at the Chalet d’Adrien in Verbier, at the front desk. A short time after that, I was recruited as the Banquet and Events Coordinator at the Mirador Resort & Spa, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World chain. Then I was promoted to manage this department just a few months later.
I’ve met many Vateliens during my career and today I work with them on a daily basis. Whether they’ve been hired by special events agencies or whether they work in hotels in our region. We help each other out, hire one another, do missions between us, and we never lose our Vatel connections.
In the scope of my functions, I also organize private events such as weddings or anniversaries, as well as seminars and conferences for companies. I take care of everything, from the bid to invoicing.
What I like above all, is the contact I have with my customers. When other departments meet them only during a stay, I can sometimes spend a whole year with some of them, to prepare their special events.
It’s a very demanding profession that requires a lot of attention and working long hours, but one that brings in so much joy.
You, of course, have to speak English, the official hospitality language, fluently. Most of my guests don’t speak French and I also communicate with a lot of colleagues in English.
I’m sure that I’ll travel a lot in the future and work in other countries, but now I’d just like to really take advantage of everything that this job can give me because I’m really happy and I just love it.” Alexandra Clauss