Zihan Zhang graduated from EADA’s International Master in Tourism & Hospitality Management in 2019 and is has been working at Hotel Arts in Barcelona, a luxurious 5-star hotel located in an emblematic building by the seaside of the city.
We interviewed Zihan to learn more about her experience at EADA and her work experience.
What aspects of the programme would you highlight?
For me, the highlight of the master was the time I spent at the EADA Residential Training Campus. I had a good time and learnt a lot from the four modules we took. The modules consisted of the development of soft skills and each module covered a different topic. Those sessions helped me in different aspects, from knowing myself better to the method of leading myself and other people.
Moreover, the class was composed of students from all over the world and everyone was open-minded. I was continuously challenged and did a lot of teamwork with a very practical methodology.
What has been your most memorable experience?
The Marketing Challenge has been the most memorable experience for me. The master participants worked in groups and each group had to prepare a Marketing Plan for a brand from the wine company Familia Torres and present it in front of a panel. It was a difficult project to manage since some of data was confidential and we were not allowed to access to it. However, the professor helped us a lot, gave us very good suggestions and guidance and at the end my team won the challenge and got the prize.
What course did you enjoy the most?
The course I enjoyed the most was Quality and Leadership, given by Antonio Bignone, who is the General Director of the luxury hotel The Serras Barcelona. This course taught me what the spirit and standard of service is and helped me have a deeper understanding of the details of this industry
What advice would you give to future students of the International Master in Tourism & Hospitality Management?
Contact the professors, ask them questions and connect with them. Because they can bring you a lot, not only in terms of theory, their experience is priceless. Also, they are brilliant people in their area- sometimes, they can bring you more, even the opportunity of working with them.
How has the master prepared you to reach your professional goals?
My plan was to work in the operational department in a hotel. I didn’t have a background in hospitality before, this master has given me an overall view of the industry, and I got to know many people with a lot of experience, not only the professors, but also my classmates.
What did you enjoy the most about your job in Hotel Arts?
In Hotel Arts, they gave us the authority to make our own decisions with a budget up to 200 euros, this gave us a lot of flexibility. The working environment and atmosphere was also wonderful, all the team was willing to help, were kind to each other and supported each other. It’s a working environment with warmth and respect.
What did you do at work on a daily basis?
I worked in a very exclusive service that we only offered to the guests of the penthouses, situated at the upper part of the building. We were separated from the other part of the hotel and it was like working in a boutique hotel. I liked it a lot, because I was able to gain experience in every department of the hotel: from the reception to guest experience.
Afterwards I was hired as a concierge and I gave suggestions to the guests about their visit, I helped plan all the trip for them, the ticket, transportation, etc.
What things that you learnt in the master do you currently apply at work?
As I was working in the rooms division, I used a lot of the content I learnt in the operation part of the master, which helped me a lot in understanding the spirit of the industry, they helped me to be tuned in to the needs of the customer when offering the service. The course about the management system helped me to understand better how the whole hotel system works, giving me a global view and helping me to learn faster on the job.
Others courses have helped me a lot in an indirect way, for example, the Food & Beverage and HR classes helped me to communicate better with my colleagues, the marketing and strategy courses gave me a clearer vision of the business plan of the hotel, and which kinds of guests will come in each season and their possible needs. It is something I had absorbed already and showed in my daily thinking and behaviour.
Please summarize what EADA has meant to you in one sentence.
EADA helped me know myself better and have a clearer career path in mind.