Lots of Work and a Spot of Luck!
A 2015 graduate from the MA programme 'Experience Economy: Hospitality and Tourism Management. Tourism and Hotel Management,' Anastasia Salina, shares her thoughts on creative success.
There’s often something accidental about career choice. For me – it was winning an annual Olympiad for students and graduates, in which winners received a reduced rate for MA courses at HSE. I chose Tourism and Hotel Management as part of the MA programme 'Experience Economy: Hospitality and Tourism Management. Tourism and Hotel Management’. I really liked the fact that this was a vibrant, engaging programme. The first intake of students had only just started their studies and were already going on tours of the best hotels in Moscow, attending lectures by guest specialists and writing their research. I needed to accumulate experience, and build up my portfolio. I won that Olympiad, and that’s the moment my path was set – hospitality and tourism. The academic supervisor for my dissertation was Dr Spring H. Han. I started reading articles about medical tourism as part of my work on an overview of the literature available and to define the methodology for my research. Then I spent some time with the Korea Tourism Organization, and gathered data for my coursework.
By January, I had started writing the theoretical part of my research, and that's when I heard that the company TUI was offering students on our MA course the opportunity to take part in Sochi 2014 – helping organize tourist accommodation on cruise liners during the Winter Olympics. That was an opportunity I did not want to miss out on – being part of such a massive event as the Olympics – and getting experience of working with an international company, that is one of the main players on the tourism market. Even though I had been studying a completely different subject for a good few months, I talked to Dr Han and we decided that I should try to change my research field and we developed a survey for me to take with me to the Olympics.
In Sochi I was able to get responses from a sufficient number of tourists to carry out a statistical analysis of the data. Thus, by the end of the first year of my MA I had completed the practical element of my dissertation. In the two years of my MA, I took part in 5 conferences of various scales and levels, from conferences held at my own Management Faculty at HSE Perm, to one of the most recognized events globally in service management – QUIS 14, the 14th Research Symposium on Service Excellence in Management. I was awarded top marks by the jury at a tourism conference in Korea for the work I had carried out under Dr Han, and awarded 'The Best of the Best Paper'.
So, by the last six months of my 2 year course, I had not only taken part in numerous research conferences, published articles in academic journals and collected works following conferences, acted as Academic Assistant at HSE, gained experience of working in tourism at the Sochi Olympics, and carried out practical studies in Finland with the St Petersburg HSE campus, I had also already written my dissertation.
That's when I decided that it was time to get experience working in the hotel industry, so that I graduate with a well-rounded understanding of the experience economy as a whole. I selected the five-star luxury Lotte Hotel Moscow. I started out in an entry-level position front office, coordinating guest experience. After six months I moved from front office to back office, where I've been working for five months.
I am currently studying Korean in free classes at the hotel (Lotte Group is one of the largest Korean corporations) and am gradually planning how to further develop my career. I am not only looking at industry opportunities for career growth but am also considering enrolling on a PhD course and continuing my research in this field.