Caroline, since February 2014, you’ve been working at the New York Sofitel. How did this opportunity come about?
The job I currently hold is the result of lots of work, but also a bit of luck. I finished my studies in Vatel Paris in 2011 and then decided to complete them with an MBA in Vatel Los Angeles. That’s where I also met my boyfriend, Adrien Malajmare, who also went from Vatel Paris to Vatel Los Angeles.
When we got back to France, we only had one goal in sight: leaving to go back to work in the United States asap! It wasn’t as if we couldn’t get jobs in France - I was working as the General Housekeeping Assistant at the Warwick Hotel Champs Elysees just a week after we got back, but we were both hooked on the American Dream.
And then as luck would have it, a friend of one of Adrien’s cousins who had worked at the Miami Sofitel put us in contact with the hotel’s General Manager, Mr. Balendra Nagesvaran. After a few interviews, we were both hired, but as interns. So we took the risk of starting again from zero, with very tight salaries. We both worked hard, as our passion for this field and desire to succeed in it was like a guiding light. Sofitel Miami appreciated the work that we both did, but was unable to sponsor us because of the cost of a work visa in the US.
But in the hospitality sector, taking risks and being humble always pays off! At the same time, Mr. Balendra Nagesvaran was promoted to the New York Sofitel as the ‘Vice President Operations Sofitel Americas.’ He decided to give us our chance and sponsor us for an American work visa. So that’s how we started in February at the New York Sofitel. Myself as the Executive Assistant, and Adrien as the F&B Assistant Manager.
So you are living your American Dream.
That’s exactly it. This new job is very interesting. I’m constantly in contact with all VIP guests, both French and foreigners.I’m in charge of all their requests. I also process customer satisfaction and customer complaints. I manage the agendas of Mr. Balendra Nagesvaran as well as that of Mr. Marc Pichot, the Hotel Manager.
Mr. Balendra Nagesvaran is a very demanding person and I thank him for that. That way I improve every day. So I’m sure that there are still bright prospects and many dreams that will come true...
So you still have a lot of dreams?
Thousands of them! Hospitality and the American market are changing so quickly that I’ve got the feeling that all the lights are green and that opportunities are endless. ‘Dream big,’ as Mr. Balendra Nagesvaran often says.
So let’s keep on talking about dreams. When you were a student in Vatel Paris, you did your final internship at theDisneyland Paris Dream Castle. What did this bring you from a professional point of view?
Well, we’ll go back to the beginning then. After a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Languages, in English, Spanish and Italian, I enrolled in Vatel in a parallel admission. It was a trip to Morocco with my family that made me want to do this.
The Foundation year not only gave me all the theoretical aspects I was missing in terms of hospitality related knowledge, but also the very basics of these jobs, through practical applications. This is really one of Vatel’s assets. With the application restaurant, you’ve already started your active life, without having to wait to do your first internship. So you’re faced with what really happens in the workplace and you learn how to manage this.
The two following years taught me to have the mind-set more of a manager, thanks to very realistic case studies. We’re taught to think like future leaders, which is one key aspect in jobs we’re learning to do.Most of our professors also were in the hospitality and tourist management fields. They brought us that intangible little “extra”, thanks to their professional conduct and experience in the job.
For the Postgraduate program, we had two internships. For the first one, I had the opportunity of working in Saint Barthelme in the Caribbean islands as Captain in the Toiny Hotel. For my second one, I was at the Disneyland Resort Dream Castle in Paris as the Floor Housekeeper. I learned a lot from both of these internships.
After that I left for a year in Vatel Los Angeles. That’s where I fell in love not only with Adrien, but also with the States. This was a turning point in my career. Courses were intense, but oh so ever interesting! All the professors had so much experience. American style education is a real mind opener. It makes you think about things outside the box; that way anything is possible.
Then I had the opportunity to do my internship at the five-star, five-diamond Ermitage Beverly Hills Hotel. I was the Housekeeping Coordinator. At the end of this internship, I was promoted to Assistant Housekeeping Manager. This internship allowed me to hone my leadership, something that you have to have when you’re a manager.
We can feel how much you love the States. But do Americans love the French as much?
Americans love the ‘French touch.’ That’s something they really appreciate. Sofitel thus has a client base that is already established, though of course we have to maintain it. Adrien and I are like ambassadors of the French art of hospitality that Vatel teaches.
On April 22, 2023, finale of “WE ARE HOTELIERS 2023” the 1st season was successfully organized by the Faculty of Business Administration – Foreign Trade University.Read more
Students are thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in real hotel practice in Danang. This experience is a chance for them to apply their theoretical knowledge and gain valuable practical skills in a real-world setting.Read more
Located in the heart of Danang, a city renowned for its stunning beaches, rich cultural heritage, and rapid economic growth, Vatel Danang offers a truly unique educational experience.Read more
* Applied ONLY for the intakes of March 2023 & July 2023 at Vatel Ho Chi Minh - Hotel & Tourism Business SchoolRead more
At Vatel Ho Chi Minh - Hotel & Tourism Business SchoolRead more
The First school day of the Cat Year 2023 - Interculturality Marco Polo International Internship. Lecturer: Ms. Chloe - EM of TIA Wellness Resort, My Khe Beach, Danang, Vietnam.Read more
With the motto "Learning goes hand in hand", Vatel always creates conditions for students to participate in practical experiences and learn from experts from 5-star hotels in Hanoi, in order to improve professional skills and practical knowledge.
With the goal of training students to be either good at theoretical knowledge or proficient in skills, Vatel always creates conditions for students to participate in real-life experiences, apply their knowledge into a professional environment.Read more
Vatel Danang students improve their skillsRead more
VATEL - INTERNATIONAL PARTNER OF INTERNATIONAL HOTEL MANAGEMENT PROGRAM RATED AS THE BEST HOTEL SCHOOL IN FRANCE 2022
Vatel Hanoi’s students had the chance to celebrate their graduation at the French Embassy for the first timeRead more
More and more human communities consider ecotourism to be a solution that promotes their way of life, and preserves their culture and biodiversity surrounding them.Read more
Martin Rousset, a Vatel Nimes student, flew to Antananarivo for Vatel Madagascar’s specialization in ecotourism management for his last MBA year.Read more
The tourism sector, one that now attracts millions of young students throughout the world, is in tune with globalizationthat is currently being overturned by inequalities and environmental threats.Read more
Vatel Rwanda started in 2016, we began to prepare the first intake for 2018, headed by Nicole Bamukunde, a Rwandese graduate of Vatel, and who has worked in startups in her country, which is totally renewing itself.Read more
Ms. Nguyen Thuc Thuy Tien - Vatel student has won the Miss Grand International 2021 title, one of the top six major international beauty pageants for women.Read more
This last week of November, 339 5th year students competed in English for 1st place on the podium.Read more
Each year, students spend from 4 to 6 months doing internships at 5-star hotels in Vietnam and around the world. In the 2020-2021 academic year, the epidemic will not hinder the determination of the Foreign Trade University and Vatel studentsRead more
The results of the efforts, study and training of Vatel students are best demonstrated through comments from hotel managers and customers served by students.Read more
Vatel Hanoi's student have practical experience in "Wine Tasting" event at The Warehouse - No. 46 Ngo Quyen, HanoiRead more