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News   •   Jun 10, 2014 15:00 +08

A tourism and hospitality degree from the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS) opens doors to the tourism industry. 

"I would rate 9 out of 10 for the teaching environment and staff." Vincent Gay, 25, Executive Intern(Housekeeping, Orchard Hotel, Singapore)

What was the academic paththat led you to studying for an honours degree at MDIS?

After getting my Diploma in Travel,Tourism and Hospitality Management at MDIS, I progressed to the Bachelor of Science (Hons) International Tourism and Hospitality Management Degree, which was designed to equip students with the specialised business and operations knowledge of the hospitality industry.

What was the curriculum like?

Compared to the time spent at local polytechnics, seven months was rather quick to graduate with a diploma. Yet the diploma course at MDIS gave me a clear picture of what the tourism and hospitality industry was like and how it was managed.

The degree course covered modules similar to those in a business degree course, such as finance,marketing and law, but from the tourism and hospitality industry's perspective. Urban Tourism was oneof my favourite modules as I got to travel to neighbouring countries toresearch on a topic of my choice.

The course syllabus provided a very good balance of practicallearning and theory. Work placementwas one of the mandatory modules I had to complete before moving onto Year 3. It allowed students to gainrelevant industry experience, thereby increasing our employability.

Tell us about your experience in the Work Placement Programme.

I was attached to the Front Office Department at a five-star hotel from January to July 2012. Injust six months, I learnt much about customer service andservice recovery, such as handling demanding guests.

Did you find what you studied at MDIS useful in the real world?

The campus has a Hospitality Training Centre in a hotel setting, making learning more realistic, and thel ecturers are veterans in the hospitality industry. Working in groups for assignments helped me develop good teamwork and communication skills,which are useful in my current trainingat Orchard Hotel Singapore under its Executive Internship Programme. I would rate MDIS 9 out of 10 for the teaching environment and staff.

Any advice for potential students?

If you have the passion to serve and you enjoy meeting new people, this course is for you!

After getting your diploma at a polytechnic, why did you decide To pursue a degree at MDIS? 

I chose to study for a degree in International Tourism and Hospitality Management because I love travelling and wanted to do something that I would enjoy. I decided on MDIS after reading a newspaper article which compared students from private schools and local universities. They reported that private school students were also able to find good jobs. What was the curriculum like? It had a mix of theory and practical learning. The degree course covered the history of tourism and its trends, as well as Strategic Planning for Tourism & Leisure, International Tourism Development and Travel, Tourism & Hospitality Human Resources. As I like history and travelling, my favourite subjects were E-Tourism, Urban Tourism and International Hospitality Management.

Tell us about your experience in Travel and Tourism Work Placement.

MDIS sends us for industry training to get real work experience. We would do on-site surveys to learn and understand the industry better. I did my internship at Chan Brothers Travel from January to July 2012.After my stint, I learnt that it was not just about booking tours! The job of a travel consultant also includes planning tours and flights that best suit the customers and following upon insurance claims. Now I'm able to plan my holidays better!

What did you enjoy most about your stint at in the travel agency?

A sense of fulfilment. My customers sent me photos of their trips and also words of appreciation. 

How did you apply your classroom skills to your workplace?

Though a lot of what we learnt inschool was theory, we did on-sitesurveys and projects to study tourismtrends. I am now better able toanticipate guests’ needs and wants.

Any advice for potential students?

Study something you like. I found that liking the subject made me enjoy my Tourism course more.

For more information, call 6664 8159, email etc@mdis.edu.sg orvisit www.facebook.com/mdis.sth.

Article reproduce from  8 DAYS,issue #1322 May 29 2014, MediaCorp Pte Ltd.

TEXT: JULIAN TAN; PHOTOS: EALBERT HO; SHOT ON LOCATION AT ORCHARD HOTEL

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