Sebastien Romiszvili is 21, he speaks 5 languages and already has 5 years of experience in international hotel and luxury goods management. How is this possible?
- By taking academic courses followed by practical application work at Vatel.
- By adding one professional experience to another, thanks to his internships.
- By learning, all by himself, as he wants to go to Brazil as soon as he finishes his final internship, Portuguese, adding onto his linguistic talents in French, English, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Sebastien will tell us more about these 5 years at Vatel...
After your high school diploma, you continued with your Bachelor’s Degree in International Hotel Management. Why did you decide to work in hospitality and attend Vatel?
This field has always attracted me, though I can’t really put my finger on the reason why. In 2008, I had the opportunity of doing a two week observation period at the Le Lana Hotel*****, in Courchevel, whose CEO is Nicolas Tournier, a Vatelien. This experience allowed me to confirm that I wanted to work in this field. And after that, what really convinced me to apply to Vatel, was that one of my friends had gone there and recommended the school to me. So then I went to an Open House Day and the students I met there also convinced me that this was the right school for me.
Starting right in your 1st year, you have a week of theoretical courses followed by a week of practical application at school. What is your opinion of this kind of educational method, which is unique?
I had never thought about this kind of training before I applied to Vatel. But now it seems indispensable, especially in our types of jobs. Vatel’s practical application structures are excellent training grounds: we expand on our theoretical knowledge to transform it into professional skills, which, when we’re actually working, really puts us a step ahead of the others. When we start an internship, we’ve already got a hands on approach to the various jobs to be done in a hotel. Now I’m more convinced than ever that a good manager needs to know what those people he or she is managing are doing, and has to have done these jobs. That makes us more credible and our teams respect us more.
Such a very rewarding experience! When you work in a hotel with only forty rooms, you quickly become very polyvalent. New responsibilities are added quickly. The Rochedy’s, who own this iconic hotel in Courchevel, taught me their elegant way of hosting and caring for their guests. In addition to that, at that time the hotel was expanding, and I was able to contribute to this great project.
End of your 2nd year. You’re ready to leave on your international internship, at the Beijing Marriott City Wall***** for 6 months in the Guest Relationships, Front Office and Night Auditor’s departments. What do you remember the most about this Chinese adventure?
It was completely different from my first experience. I went from a small, family-owned hotel in the French Alps to a 649 room chain hotel right in the middle of Beijing. These six months in China allowed me to acquire another vision of hospitality, in an emerging economy and country. From a personal point of view, it was also a very positive experience.
Now you’re back at Vatel for your 3rd year. You manage 2nd year students and make sure they’re correctly managing 1st year students. How do you feel about this?
As we acquire more professional experience and knowledge, our line of thought and way of working is more personalized, and we hone it. We’ve got the keys we need to manage a team and discuss things with team members. We’re able to compared situations with other ones we’ve already seen and propose solutions to problems.
In learning how to manage people, this was my best experience. I attended many managerial meetings, saw what kind of work was being done by departmental heads, analyzed complaint management and took part in organizing special events, during the Cannes Film Festival, for example.
That was in line with my previous experiences. Now I can’t see myself working elsewhere than in luxury hotels. Even though a lot of our curriculum targets hotel management, this specialization concerns all luxury goods, from fashion up to art and jewelry. My beginner’s Mandarin Chinese courses were also one of the reasons I chose to go to Paris.
What are your first impressions?
All our instructors and lecturers are fantastic. They come from all over and have brilliant careers in international groups such as Hilton, Accor, or in Parisian palaces such as the Ritz, the Peninsula. We had the opportunity to visit the Peninsula Paris the first week school started, the Shangri-La Paris just a few day later, and the Bristol in October.
Now you’ve already been accepted in your final internship that will start in January 2015 - in Projects and Work Management at the Le Bristol Palace. How did you get this internship and what are your next professional projects?
I’m really thrilled about this as the Bristol is an iconic luxury palace, belonging to the Oekter Group Collection, who also owns Cap Eden Roc, where I did my last internship. So I quickly consulted all the offers and was able to set up several interviews. My first goal is to do my very best in this internship, like in my other ones. I want to give myself opportunities for the future and give them a good impression of what I’m capable of doing. My mid-term project is to work on luxury hotels that will be opening in developing countries. My ambition is to go to Brazil next summer in order to discover this part of the world, which is booming. So after China, you could say that Brazil is my next challenge!