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Three General Managers Provide Sage Advice for Wannabe Hoteliers

28 May 2009 - SINGAPORE - General Managers and Hotel Owners who met for a recent Operations Career Track Advisory Board Meeting hosted by the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management (CNI) had sage advice for the Masters of Management in Hospitality (MMH) students - be passionate, with strong people skills in order to succeed in the hospitality industry. 

Bobby Horrigan, Vice President and General Manager Operations Hotels, Discovery Suites, Philippines, opened the session up by telling the students that to survive in this industry they must have the right attitude. “Be an entertainer,” Horrigan encouraged. “Make it seem like it is a party every day”. Horrigan added, “Furthermore, to be a good hotelier you have to have the characteristics of a General, to be able to enforce discipline and yet to be a good brother/sister, or parent to mentor your staff”. 

Ian Wilson, General Manager of the Fairmont, Singapore and Regional Vice President Asia for Fairmont Hotels, joined the hospitality industry in Banff, Canada. He challenged the students, “How do you maintain and find your passion?”

Wilson made the comment that people these days are fixated on a cool career. He said that what was more important is to ask oneself, “What do I like the most, what do I like the least, and how do people describe me”. If you answer these questions honestly, the right direction will become obvious when faced with choices along your career path.  He remarked that often the way people describe themselves is not related to the career ambitions they have. He urged the students to choose what they are best at, to consider what their natural talents are, and to determine what naturally motivates them. In Wilson’s opinion, “If you know what you are passionate about, and how it plays to your strengths, remuneration and position will come in time, as will success.

Liv Gussing, General Manager, Aman Resorts, Bali, shared her personal experiences in the industry with the students. Her key advice, however, was for the women in the group, “Women should align their own goals and values with that of the organization they work for. For instance, if you plan to have children, is it acceptable to have a child in your arms as you greet guests? Gussing herself has been fortunate to work with a company that allows her flexibility as a mother and as the General Manager of the hotel. 

Students were given the opportunity to lunch with a mentor and later in the afternoon a “speed dating” session occurred where small groups of students were able to move from mentor to mentor and converse with the mentors. 

About Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management
The Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management (CNI) is jointly operated and governed by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and Nanyang Technological University’s Business School. Located in Singapore, CNI is strategically positioned to develop leaders, managers and entrepreneurs for the Asian hospitality and tourism industry. CNI offers three hospitality education programs designed to alleviate the severe shortage of qualified talent that is currently plaguing the hospitality industry in Asia and the Middle East. 
Equivalent to an MBA, the one year Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH) program prepares students to be theory-based, action-oriented leaders of executive management teams and entrepreneurial ventures in the hospitality and service industry. CNI MMH students spend six months at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and six months at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, thus taking advantage of educational and networking opportunities in both Asia and North America in a single year. 

The Professional Development Program (PDP) offers three-day courses that cover different aspects of hotel management. PDP teaches cutting-edge management techniques, presented by internationally recognized faculty members and industry leaders. Participants can earn Cornell certifications in Financial Management, Food, Beverage, and Restaurant Management, General and Strategic Management, Human-Resource Management, Marketing, Operations Management and Property-Asset Management and Real Estate. CNI has hosted over 1000 PDP participants from nearly 40 countries in the last three years. The July 2009 PDP will be held from July 23rd to August 5th, 2009 in Singapore.

The General Managers Program (GMP) is designed for hotel general managers of full service hotels and their immediate successors. Participants in this ten-day program concentrate on strategic hospitality management issues, work collaboratively to expand the foundation of their knowledge, and produce new solutions to the challenges they face. The GMP 2009 in Singapore will be offered from July 20th to 30th, 2009. 

Please visit the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management website for more information.


Ms Sonali Deuskar
Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management
Tel: +65 6790 5800





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