We interviewed Ulrike Jung, the new director of the International Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management to find out about her professional experience and her aspirations for the new role. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Tourism from the Management Center Innsbruck (MCI) and she graduated from EADA’s International Master in Management in 2012.
Ulrike began her career at Aldi Supermarkets in Spain as an Area Manager. Her diverse 10-year career in retail and tourism operations inspired Ulrike to become an independent consultant specialised in startups and brands looking to restructure or franchise their businesses.
How would you describe your experience at EADA as a student?
I decided to do my master at EADA because of the location (Barcelona) and the focus on personal development and leadership skills at the Residential Training Campus. I enjoyed the four modules at the Campus and took away key skills that I was able to implement later on in my professional life as an international team leader.
My time at EADA was especially valuable because everything that we did was connected to the business world, from the real-world case studies to the faculty with extensive experience in the industry. I was able to network across borders and gain experience in the business world during the International Business Trip to Italy, the Markstrat competition and the Marketing Challenge with Dove Unilever. Working in stable groups in such a diverse environment with people from all over the world enriched my profile and extended my network — I am still in touch with many of the classmates and professors I met during the Management programme.
What motivated you to launch your career as a freelance consultant? What has been the most rewarding aspect of your work?
I am a very versatile person with a 360-degree profile, which meant that I often felt limited in the positions that I had held previously. I wanted to deliver my full potential at work and so I decided to take on various projects at a time as a consultant.
I find adapting to the perspective of each of my clients particularly enriching. I like to be involved in the strategic set-up of the operational structure of companies and accompany middle management during implementation. In my work, I emphasise the importance of investing in training for junior professionals so that they can one day become empathetic leaders of highly motivated teams.
The most rewarding aspect of my work is to find win-win solutions for the companies and their different stakeholders. Working on consulting projects keeps me up-to-date on everything that is happening in the industry and trains me to be multidimensional, flexible and adaptable so that I can meet each client’s unique needs.
How is consulting different from working full time at a single company?
First of all, I am responsible for my own business with all of the positive and negative consequences. Moreover, during the consulting collaboration, I am closely linked to the company, as I though I were part of the team, but with the advantage of being able to conduct the assessment from an objective (external) perspective. I work as a guide that helps senior management to prepare the decisions that they have to take and keep them updated throughout the implementation process.
What are you most excited about in your new role as Programme Director at EADA?
Prior to my current position as Programme Director, I collaborated with EADA as a guest speaker, consultant (in conjunction with the Centre for Retail Leadership), and final project tutor.
In my new role, I am especially excited to work with all of the multinational students from all over the world and to guide them throughout their year at EADA. I am also looking forward to collaborating with all of the excellent professionals at EADA and the leading companies from the industry that regularly participate in networking events.
What are your top tips for students for keeping up with the latest news in the tourism and hospitality industries?
Because tourism is very linked to the economy, I find it important to keep myself up-to-date about the global economy in general. I recommend The Economist, The Financial Times or the Wall Street Journal. For trends in the tourism sector, international trade fairs like the ITB in Berlin or IBTM World are a “must”. Students should also be consulting Preferente, Hosteltur, the Tourism Review and Traveldailynews.com on a daily basis.
How would you describe Barcelona to students who are about to arrive for the first time?
Barcelona is, in many ways, a very exciting city – especially for first-time visitors. Going to the Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell gives you a feel for the extraordinary life of Gaudi. Walking down the Ramblas, taking a boat tour in the port and having a cold drink at Barceloneta beach are just a few must-dos. I especially like the markets in the different neighbourhoods and the great number of parks that make Barcelona a green oasis in comparison to other cities. I highly recommend students also explore the area surrounding the city to enjoy the diverse landscape of Catalonia, where they can hike, ski, skydive and enjoy seaside activities.