Summer in Singapore


Hello Hotelies!

I am excited to write to you all about my summer interning at the Grand Hyatt Singapore.

It was a chance for me to apply the skills learned in the classroom into actual hotel operations. And there was no better way for me to truly witness the art of hospitality management than to be on the floor of a 677 room, 5-star hotel in a premier international destination working alongside an incredibly diverse and multicultural arrangement of peers.

For the sake of conveying something that I hope you will find practical and/or interesting, especially when deciding what kind of internship you would like to have, I want to center this post around three core lessons.

1. Take stride in knowing absolutely nothing (Or, better phrased, having a lot to learn)

2. Learn to understand your network - the one that's given and the one you will make

3. Smile often and enjoy the experience

First lesson. Coming from Cornell, I wanted to pretend that I knew exactly how hotel operations were run or that my education put me at an advantage over my colleagues. I even spent some time wondering why I was working on the floor instead of taking on more quantitative tasks and responsibilities. At the end of the day, I wanted to be useful and feel like I gained something out of the experience. So I began to learn how to ask questions. “Is there anything I can do?”, “How does this work?”, “What is this?”, etc. I would ask anything that came to mind that I was remotely curious about. This did two things for me. First of all, I actually came to learn a lot. And secondly, my colleagues saw me as a better worker who could be trusted with more responsibilities. In the short time that I was at the Grand Hyatt Singapore, I was able to delegate tasks and assignments and man the concierge and front desk counters alone at times. Had I remained quiet and pretended to know everything, I would never have been able to do this and grow as an individual.

Second lesson. Learn about your network. My freshman year, I looked through the alumni directory while on vacation in Tokyo and found that the person in charge of the Grand Hyatt for all of Japan and my home island of Guam was a Hotelie. One quick email exchange later and I was eating breakfast with him in his hotel restaurant while he explained his life story to me. During my summer internship, this connection helped me to form closer relationships with the upper management at the Grand Hyatt Singapore as I believe it brought a closer point of relatability. I was deeply impressed by the extent of the CHS network. Many of my managers had taken online courses affiliated with Cornell and had talked about different Hotelies that had worked at the property at one time or another. Knowing this also helped to make me more comfortable and confident in my working environment. But one of the more important lessons that I learned was to form good relationships with those working the lower line jobs. I personally place too much emphasis on trying to get to know the General Manager or CEO and too often overlook the opportunity to truly form good relationships with those around me. My colleagues ended up being the ones that took me out on the weekends and introduced me to more incredible people that have helped to enrich my life, both personally and professionally.

Also in this lesson, you should absolutely attend a CHS chapter meeting, if possible. I went to two such events in Singapore over the summer. Everybody is incredibly friendly and supportive. Funny enough, I actually ran into a few of them at HEC this year. The hospitality industry is surprisingly small.

Third lesson. Whether it was a good time or not, it is important to enjoy the experience. A good experience can point you in the right direction of what to focus on for the future, while a bad experience is maybe more useful in letting you know what career NOT to go into. Regardless, smile often. It can go a long way.

That is all from me for now. If you have any questions, maybe even to introduce you to my point of contact in HR who helped organize my internship, please feel free to shoot me an email at mdb295@cornell.edu

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© 2020 by Nicholas Lu, Moira Yi, Jacqueline Chen & AJ Mackey

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