Happy occasion and a lot of work!
Anastasia Salina graduated from the master’s programme “Experience Economy: Hospitality and Tourism Management” in 2015. She specializes in Tourism and Hotel Management. Anastasia tells us about her creative success
The choice of a profession often depends on chance. For me such an occasion was the winning the annual Olympiad for students and graduates, that gives benefits to admission to HSE master’s programmes. At that time I was a final-year bachelor student at the HSE Campus in Perm, at the School of Management. I was planning to receive a master degree, but I couldn’t decide which master programme to choose. During registering to Olympiad, I chose the Tourism and Hotel Management specialization in Master’s Programme “Experience Economy: Hospitality and Tourism Management”, and I have two reasons for it. Firstly, the programme is lively and interesting, and I like it. The students of the first intake just began to study but they are already going to excursions to the best Moscow hotels, listening to lectures from guest specialists and writing research papers.
Secondly, the admission to the “Experience Economy” programme pass through a portfolio competition, unlike other management programmes. But at that time I didn’t have any work experience in hospitality and tourism as well as I hadn’t any research papers on this topic. Fortunately, I won the Olympiad and from that moment my path in the field of hospitality and tourism began.
Even before the study started, I had chosen an advisor of my master’s thesis – Spring Khan, PhD. In the early autumn, I was already reading articles on a medical tourism in order to write a literature review and choose a study methodology. Next there was a practicum in the Korea Tourism Organization, and I collected the data for the term paper. In January, when I had already begun to write the theoretical part of the term paper, I got to know that TUI company offered the students of our master’s programme to take part in the “Sochi 2014” project. It was supposed to help to organize the tourists’ accommodation on the cruise liner during the Winter Olympic Games. Certainly, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to become a part of such a grand and huge event as the Olympics. Also, I’d like to gain work experience in the international company – one of the main company on the international tourism market. When my fellow student and I were preparing for the visit to Sochi, our advisor Marina Dmitrievna Predvoditeleva gave us suggestion to do a research in Sochi. Though for several months I was studying absolutely another topic, my supervisor and I decided to change the direction of the research. We reviewed the literature, chose the most interesting topic for us and developed the questionnaire, that I brought along to Olympics. In Sochi, I managed to ask the sufficient number of tourists to carry out a statistical analysis of the data. Thus, by the end of the first year of my study, I had a finished practical part of my research. So it’s logical then to speak at scientific conferences. Over a two-year period of my study I participated in five different conferences: from the conference at my own faculty of management to one of the most recognized event in the field of the service management – QUIS 14 (14th Research Symposium on Service Excellence in Management). Moreover, I managed not only to report, but to become an assistant of the editors of the collected volume and to see the process of preparing of a science event inside. Frankly speaking, at first I didn’t realize why I should participate in conferences. I thought that the very fact of reporting and winning prizes is the most important (on the tourism conference in Korea the paper written by me and my supervisor was rated highest and was declared as “The Best of Best Paper”). Now I can safely say that for a student it’s a good practice to speak at a conference, because it’s an opportunity to present their reports to professors and specialists and to get useful commentaries and reviews. Their commentaries and critics as well as proposals for changing and improving a paper allow to write a really good research, which will become a basis for a MA thesis.
The second year curriculum of the MA provides a long research practice during three months. By the last semester of my study I had written my MA thesis, had participated in several scientific conferences, had published the articles in a scientific review and collected volumes. Also, I was a teaching assistant at HSE, gained work experience in the field of tourism on the Olympics in Sochi and even went to the practice to Finland with the students from the HSE Campus in St. Petersburg. At that moment, I decided to get work experience in hospitality to have the whole concept of the experience economy after graduating from MA. I chose a five-star hotel – Lotte Hotel Moscow – as a place of a practice and work. I started working at the Lotte Hotel as a guest coordinator in the reception and accommodation service. A half a year later I realized that I can do my work in a fast and effective way and I wanted to get a promotion. Right around that time, there was a department coordinator position open in a trade service. It’s noteworthy that at the Lotte Hotel employees are always trained and developed, and promoting is welcome. I had a successful job interview on the position of marketing and sale coordinator and moved from the front office to the back office. Now I’m working at the new position for about five months. I’m learning Korean on the free course by the hotel (the Lotte Group is one of the biggest Korean corporations) and planning future career development. I consider not only a career in the field of hospitality as a further growth, but I’m also thinking of entering a PhD programme to continue research work. Certainly, the competition on PhD programmes is very tough, and the process of the entrance itself is long and hard.
Due to my skills that I acquired during the two busy years of the study in MA (research methods, academic writing, skill of making presentations) as well as the publications and conference reports that I managed to collect, I believe in myself and I’m ready to try my hand at this new fascinating path.