Year of graduation: 2016
Current Employer: Celebrity Cruises
Current Job Title: Jr Guest Relations Officer
Current Location: Celebrity Summit, sailing the Caribbean
“I would recommend Plymouth because of the connections that the University has with companies; this benefits you with regards to the opportunities available to you as a student and after you graduate.”Tell us about your career path since graduation.
I flew to New York to join the ship one week after I graduated. I have been on board now for three months and I have three months left of my contract. On the 2 January, I passed my three-month probation appraisal and have already started cross training for the next position of Guest Relations Officer, ready for the next contract. I have settled into the company well, without many struggles. The position I have now is different from any other job I have had in the hospitality industry.
How has your degree helped/influenced your career path?
Studying at Plymouth was the only option for me as it was the only university in the UK that offered the course I wanted to study. My degree now links directly to the position that I have and, not only this, but I actually managed to secure the job through connections at the University. I choose the degree with a specific career outcome in mind.
What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?
The most difficult part, but also the most interesting part, of my position, is being away from home and not seeing family and friends for six months. However, this is the most interesting part because it has enabled me to travel to some amazing places.
The most difficult thing about the actual job would most likely be working in a very close team of people from all over the world; it is something that I have had to learn and to which I’ve had to adapt the way I work in order to fit into the team.
Imagine you were about to start university again - with the benefit of hindsight - what would you now tell yourself to have done differently?
I found that in my last year I succeeded the most academically, but managed to have the best social life as well because I managed to balance my life. If I could tell myself one thing, it would be that this is possible.
If you were just about to graduate again, what would you do differently?
I wouldn't do anything differently because I managed to have my current job lined up way before I finished my degree and managed to start the job directly after my graduation. I wouldn't have been able to have this opportunity without the connections at the University.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get into the same line of work?
I would suggest looking closely into the company for which you would like to work; for example, I work for a luxury cruise line, but for me, one disadvantage is that it is American. This affects different things in the job/type of passengers you deal with and also you get paid in dollars, which I have to transfer into pounds.
Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?
I did a one-year placement in a five-star hotel in central London called the Goring Hotel. I was the first person from Plymouth University to secure a placement at this hotel and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I learnt so much from the company and was part of the team that helped the hotel achieve a Forbes five star rating and a Michelin star. The level of service that we provided was just above anything else I have done and I feel that I have been able to apply the unique service standards to my current job which has helped me to provide more personalised service.
What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?
The people I met. I never thought that I would meet so many amazing people from different areas of the country and from such varied courses at university: I truly have the best friends for life.
Do you stay in touch with other University of Plymouth alumni or lecturers?
I have stayed in touch with a few lecturers but it is difficult with the position I am in; working on the ship every day means that time off is precious. The Wi-Fi is also expensive, plus there is the time difference.
Would you recommend undertaking a course with the University of Plymouth, and why?
I would recommend Plymouth because of the connections that the University has with companies; this benefits you with regards to the opportunities available to you as a student and after you graduate. Also, due to the courses and placement opportunities that students have at the University, regardless of the course you do, this makes students very employable: which is one of the most important factors when completing a degree.
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