The Internship Book, Part 3: The Race is on
By Marika Kvariani
A few weeks into the academic semester and the new chapter of our journey begins – the Company Visits season. It is, once again, the time to prove to ourselves and our students that we are indeed one of the top hospitality schools around.
The atmosphere starts to electrify as representatives of hospitality industry from all over the globe walk our halls and present themselves to future professionals. It feels as close to the rock stars concert as it can: we have here the all-time giants of the industry, such as Marriott, IHG, Hyatt and Hilton alongside with charismatic and talented newcomers and unique individual properties. They are all coming here to recruit the best prospective candidates directly from the nest.
Participation is required of everybody – both campuses and both teams work hard to lay down a path of cooperation between the companies and students.
Truth being told, it is not always an easy task. The internship office knows that between 35-40% of the young graduates will get their first job offers during this time. On the other side, future alumni’s are now as busy as ever, juggling their dissertations, numerous projects and preparation for the finals. It is then easy to understand why students are obliged to attend at least 12 company visits in their last semester and why it gets overwhelming for us in the career department to keep them concentrated.
Our teams’ main tasks during the period are mostly linked to logistics. It is all about perfect organization and time/resource management skills. Having around 45 companies between two campuses and over 50 visits spread throughout 3-3.5 month’s period requires a lot of flexibility and on-the-spot thinking from every member of the team.
A typical day schedule for us on Bulle campus would looks like this:
- At 7.20 A.M. the team is already in the office;
- I set myself to double check the supply box for the presentation, making sure it has all the items that our guests might need;
- By 7.35 A.M. the presentation room and all the interview rooms should be fully prepared and set up to accommodate our guests – it is not without the help of Astrid and the trainee to manage all on time;
- Towards 8 A.M. the representatives arrive, accompanied by Dominique Havre. They will have a cup of coffee or tea with a croissant before the presentation, promptly delivered by any of us.
- From 8 to 9 is the time to supervise. Two of us will stay with students during the presentation and make sure our guests are being respected and listened to carefully
- From 9 onwards – interviews time and we all cross our fingers, hoping another graduate will get an offer he cannot refuse
At times there are two or even three companies coming on the same day and that is where the challenge starts. The company visits period is probably the most intense and productive time for the internship office on both campuses. Like our students, we have big hopes, high expectations and great determination. Each semester we welcome new companies from various industries (hospitality, events, marketing, finance, tourism, etc.) and discover new opportunities for employment as we strive to accommodate all of our student’s preferences and to widen their horizons.
But enough for the Company Visits let us move on to another major milestone of our job and the expert who presents it – Ms. Astrid Segmar and the infamous Visa Procedures.