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This is what I’m studying: The young Laois woman who is looking to make her mark in the world of hotel management

We’ve had a phenomonal response to our Student Series over the past few months and we’ve loved hearing their stories, their interests and their hopes for the future.

This week we talk to Nicole O’Leary from Portlaoise, who completed her Leaving Cert in Scoil Chriost Ri and has now embarked on studying Hotel Management in Shannon College of Hotel Management.

Nicole shared with us the ins and outs of the life of a studying hotel management.

Why did you choose to study your chosen course?

I chose to study this course as I always had an interest in the hospitality industry. I always wanted to study business as well and this course offered both to me. We are taught both the practical side of hotels such as accommodation, front office and restaurant as well as the back of house side to hotels such as accounts and management.

If you weren’t studying this course, what would you have done?

I would have done a general business degree in NUIG or UL.

What are your plans when you finish college?

Our college has a 100% employment rate for each graduate. I plan on picking the best hotel I feel that is suitable for me and building my way up to higher positions by moving around different hotels across the world to gain more experience and to travel the world.

Do you think you would like to stay local, or perhaps move away?

I plan on moving away as this course gives me the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world. There are hotels globally that operate in the same manner but with different standards. It is a great learning opportunity to embark on.

Would you like to move home after college?

I would like to move home after college for a few months but not for too long so I can continue to travel.

Does your course involve any placements or study abroad?

Yes. This course has a year and 9 months placement in it out of the 4 years and 9 months you study. In second year you move away for a year to a European country of your foreign language you are studying.

For example if you are studying French you could go to France, Belgium, Luxembourg or Switzerland. In July, I’m moving  to France for the year to work in a hotel in Provence. I will get to learn new skills and work with new people and develop my French. Also in fourth year we get to pick where we would like to work anywhere across the world.

As in second year the placement office finds a placement for you based on your language you’re studying. Hotels for placement can be picked in New York, Japan, Australia or anywhere across the world. This placement is generally your Hotel you’re guaranteed the 100% employment from graduating.  

What’s the hardest thing about your course?

The hardest thing about this course is deciding what section in the hotel you like the most to work in. First year has a huge practical side to it showing us the front of house operations. From covering front office, restaurant, kitchen, accomadation and business modules, I still can’t decide what I would like to do.

Are you looking forward to leaving the student life?

I am looking forward to leaving the student life to see where my degree will take will. But I will miss the late nights and partying.

What’s your typical college routine?

A typical week in Shannon College, consists of 8:30am starts every morning. Mondays consist of double business and double language modules. Tuesdays to Fridays consist of lectures  with a variety of accounting, management, wine, restaurant service, food theory and language lectures with five hours slots per day for your practical classes.

Each day you learn something different with many practical classes been continually assessed.

What’s your favourite part of the course?

My favourite part of the course is the practical rotations. You learn a new thing every day. Our practicals rotate every 2 weeks in semester 1 and every 3 weeks in semester 2. They really open your eyes to what it’s like to work front of house of a hotel.

My favourite practical was accomadation. We were thought the 20 steps on how to make a bed, how to service a bathroom and bedroom, as well as how make a room more exclusive to guests requests.

There was a lot in this module that I didn’t realise how much you could do to a bedroom for guest satisfaction.

What advice would you give to any student thinking of studying in this sector?

I would highly recommend that you get a job in a hotel to see the live experience yourself. Every hotel is run in some same  order but each hotel is unique in what way they do things.

It gives you a great understanding and depth in knowledge to see what happens on a day to day basis in what you’re studying.

SEE ALSO – This is what I’m studying: The young Vicarstown man training to become a doctor