In the pursuit of tertiary education,students are hoping to undergo quality learning experiences and thus get better career opportunities, regardless of their educational, financial and working backgrounds.
At the Management Development Institute of Singapore’s (MDIS’) School of Tourism and Hospitality, all students are given equal chances for training, job attachment and field-trip experiences.
Ms Yvonne Chan, who is about to graduate in May with a Bachelor’s (Hons) Degree in International Tourism and Hospitality Management, succeeded despite failing her O levels twice.
Despite her less-than-ideal academic and financial background, she was able to prove her worth by excelling in the degree programme offered by Britain’s University of Sunderland, which she took up a year after her graduation from the Diploma in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality course at MDIS.
She said: “One also needs to have courage to pursue your interests, no matter what. I’m thankful that MDIS has given me a great opportunity to succeed in life.”
Taking the diploma course gave her a solid foundation in preparing her for the degree course. “It gave me a good idea of what goes on in the industry and, when I moved on to the degree course, I was better able to grasp the concepts faster,” she said. Outside the classroom, Ms Chan’s job attachment at Inter- Continental Singapore has also opened her eyes to the exacting demands that her industry has on tourism and hospitality graduate.
She said: “In this industry, you have to do things fast and precisely. And no matter how bad your day is, you must always put on a smile. I learnt to deal with people from all walks of life, and I think it makes me much more prepared to work in this industry.”
She feels that this programme is vital in helping her prepare for work life in the tourism industry after she finishes the course in May.
“What I like about the course is that it gives us prior hospitality training through Tropical Breeze, the mock-up training centre,” she said. “This is necessary knowledge for us before we go out to manage such industries.”
Another student, Mr Raja Khairul Anwar, joined the school after completing his A levels. He did his job attachment at the prestigious St Regis Singapore, and had the opportunity to go to Bangkok for a weeklong field trip on urban tourism under the guidance of his course lecturers, an experience which he found highly enriching.
“Working as a team, we had to do surveys and gather data to understand the urbanised concepts of tourism inside Bangkok,” he said. “It allows us to see a range of different old-world and new-world cultures thriving together as tourism in the city. It’s very fascinating to see firsthand such a social phenomenon, and I’m glad to have such an opportunity to do so.”
Both Ms Chan and Mr Raja have found their time in MDIS extremely fulfilling, and are ready to step out of school and into the workforce with confidence.
Said Ms Chan: “Not only did the school teach me about the theories and knowledge needed to understand the industry, but it also taught me vital life skills.
“In school, I get to interact with people of different nationalities and cultures, and that will serve me well in dealing with people from all walks of life.”
Added Mr Raja: “When we’re doing individual project presentations, we are in fact developing our confidence to interact with people in the industry. And when we do group projects, we get to learn how to work as a team.
“These are lifelong skills which are vital to us working long term in the tourism industry.” Both also believe that, to get the most out of the school and its academic programmes, passion for the subject is key.
“I joined the programme because I had the passion for the industry. I could see myself working long term in tourism and hospitality,” said Mr Raja.
“To have a deep interest in what you’re studying is important, so if your aim is to be successful in the tourism industry, just follow you heart and make the right choice.”
The School of Tourism & Hospitality was officially launched in 2007, and was voted one of the best for hospitality and tourism studies in Singapore by Edupoll 2008/2009.
It is designed to give students the skills to become hospitality industry leaders, capable of managing international hotel and resort operations or to succeed in running hospitality enterprises of their own.
It enables students to become familiar with practical aspects of the hospitality industry and the strategic management issues involved in operating international resorts and hotels.
Students undergo six-month internships with five-star hotels, travel agencies, hospitality establishments or entertainment outlets, which will better prepare them for their respective careers in the hospitality industry.
The first batch of student internships started in October 2007 with Marina Mandarin, Siloso Beach Resort, M Hotel, the Singapore Island Country Club and Jurong Bird Park.
To date, more than 3,000 students from over 20 countries have joined the MDIS School of Tourism and Hospitality. The international student population hails from Malaysia, Vietnam, China and as far away as Germany, Russia and the United States.
- By Chia Han Keong
PHOTOS: JAMIE KOH Source:[mypaper 06032912] © Singapore Press Holdings Limited.
Reproduced with permission