Having studied language and literature courses in Sichuan, China, Jinlan joined Surrey to embark on what she thought was her first step towards becoming a hotel Human Resources Manager. Studying for her masters in International Hospitality Management, Jinlan thinks she might pursue a different path to revolutionise the hotel industry….
Why did you choose to come to Surrey?
My main reason to come to the University of Surrey is because it has the top hospitability programme which is famous in both the UK and China. The University is located in Guildford, a safe town, which provides my family and me with a sense of security. This was especially important given I’ve come here on my own and am so far away from home.
And I get to see real deer on campus!
Why are you passionate about your subject?
Hospitality is a challenging subject. Hotels are an enterprise and, if I want to be a hotel manager, I must have skills in various areas, such as marketing and revenue management. Working in a hotel, I need to balance enthusiasm and kindness to deliver high-quality service to the customer, as well as assist the hotel to maximise profit: a win-win situation.
What do you like about your course?
"All the modules on the course are tailored to fit current hospitality trends and to address our future career needs.... I think that everything I have learnt at Surrey will help me adapt quickly to the world of work because the modules combine theory and practice, and contain real business cases."
All the modules on the course are tailored to fit current hospitality trends and to address our future career needs. For example, once I am qualified, I ultimately I aim to be a hotel Human Resources (HR) director and I am learning about HR via modules on this masters.
I think that everything I have learnt at Surrey will help me adapt quickly to the world of work because the modules combine theory and practice, and contain real business cases.
What are the academic staff and facilities like on your course?
All the academic staff are nice and friendly, and they are happy to offer their help both in my life and studies. The facilities are great – like the well-equipped classrooms which I booked to rehearse the final group presentation which helped us to be more confident in actual presentation.
What are the best things about life in general at Surrey?
Sport is one of my favourite pastimes, so I think the Sports Park is the place I am fondest of. The Sports Park allows me to do different kinds of sports like squash, badminton, swimming, and tennis, and I can release any stress through exercise. In addition, the University is close to London, which only takes around 30 to 40 minutes on the train.
Do you feel supported at university?
"The student-support is impressive because I feel that all the professors and staff at Surrey are really willing to help me whenever I need it.... Whenever I have questions or I have needed help, I would turn for aid to MySurrey Hive because the Hive staff would respond quickly and always give me good solutions."
Absolutely. The student-support is impressive because I feel that all the professors and staff at Surrey are really willing to help me whenever I need it. My tutors have shared many useful and valuable suggestions, such as further learning and work opportunities.
Whenever I have questions or I have needed help, I would turn for aid to MySurrey Hive because the Hive staff would respond quickly and always give me good solutions.
What has been your best moment at Surrey so far?
The final group presentation was the best moment for me during my journey at Surrey. It is fantastic to co-operate with good group partners. Every single one of us worked really hard for a common aim [a high score], and we did it!
Do you have any advice for students thinking about postgraduate study?
Firstly, a masters degree is one way of advancing your career. Postgraduate study is not like being an undergraduate, and you are required to complete most things on your own. It gives you the opportunity to develop your abilities, like time-management, dealing with set-backs, and analysing skills.
And secondly, postgraduate study gives you the opportunity to specialise in a subject in depth and to study at a different institution.
Do you think you’ve changed since you started at Surrey?
Yes – before I started at Surrey, I made a plan that I would find a job as soon as I graduated, and I hoped to have no more academic reports or essays in my life! However, in the second semester, I suddenly recognised that I am more suited to be a scholar or to do a job relating to academic research.
After doing some assignments, I realised that I enjoyed exploring new academic topics, searching different references and writing papers. My tutor employed me as a research assistant job and I learnt a lot in both academic skills and individual ability via this job.
What do you plan to do following your postgraduate course at Surrey?
"I hope that I can use my knowledge to motivate the development and revolutionise the hotel industry."
Now I know that I wish to specialise in HRM, the next step on my academic journey will be to go to Leeds to study for my second masters in HR. I need to enhance my knowledge about HR before I then apply for a PhD.
I hope that I can use my knowledge to motivate the development and revolutionise the hotel industry, especially to contribute to changing the existing HR challenges in this industry, such as its high staff turnover rate.
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