Alumnus Eddie finds hospitality inspiration in dazzling Dubai

What’s it like to visit Dubai for a week, following one of the world’s top hotel management schools to a place known worldwide for its luxury hotels? Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) graduate Eddie Zijun Hwang has some answers…

When it comes to the Dubai field trip, which is part of the PGD and the Master’s in International Hotel Management, everyone was full of enthusiasm. The five-day visit was very immersive, as we visited many different hotels with numerous activities arranged by Les Roches.

Personally, I have always believed in the Chinese sayings that go: “Reading ten thousand books is like traveling ten thousand miles” and “Seeing is better than hearing a hundred things“. I decided to become a hospitality management student after ending my career as a teacher. All my past experiences tell me that practice brings true knowledge. Many times, the fastest way to master theoretical learning is to do it yourself.

Before I went to Dubai, the two months I had spent studying and living in Spain significantly improved my professional level in the field of hospitality management; and I also gained a deep feeling and understanding of the development direction I am interested in for the future. 

When we were in Dubai, we not only had dinner with our alumni and listened to their work experiences, but we were also really fortunate to have the opportunity to get close contact with the operational departments of some of the world’s top hotels. 

For example, in the world’s tallest hotel, the JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai, in addition to visiting the presidential suite on the top floor, we spent the whole day in the hotel listening to the executives of the Marriott Group tell us about the group’s philosophy for operating hotels around the world, including how they are caring and considerate for the customers. 

We were also integrated into the pursuit of standardization; in the InterContinental Hotel and Atlantis in Dubai, we were extremely lucky to venture into the back of the house, to feel every operational detail at close range. At FIVE Palm Resort, we also saw the perfect combination of the hotel and the “internet celebrity” economy in the information age.

Make it unforgettable

After this experience, we could understand how to analyze the advantages of each hotel from a professional perspective: what it takes to make a ‘good’ hotel into an unforgettable experience. This has made me more determined to engage in marketing in the future.

I am amazed that these people working in the world’s top hotel management teams all have humility and gentleness that I have never seen. This reminds me of what Dr. Champagne, our teacher in the Organizational Behaviors and Leadership course, once said, “When you choose hotel management, in a certain sense, it means you are a person with a humble character because, in this industry, you have to deal with all kinds of people and serve them.”

In addition to our professional networking, the school also arranged free time for us to explore the city, and other cultural experiences. For me, what stood out was taking an adventure into the desert and eating a sumptuous dinner accompanied by Arabic songs and dancing around a campfire in the evening.

Expo adventure

Last but not least, we were really lucky to catch up with the Dubai World Expo, which had been postponed due to the pandemic but was in full swing during our field trip. The 2010 Shanghai World Expo was the first event that really opened my international vision. Ten years later, when I made my Expo return, I watched the introduction of the coffee industry in Great Medellin at the National Pavilion of Colombia with tears in my eyes, as I remembered the moments when I was a volunteer there. 

Seeing the most cutting-edge aerospace technology displayed in the China Pavilion deeply resonates with the spirit of the Chinese people who never stop exploring the world. The Netherlands Pavilion tells the world about the unique understanding of water resources for those Dutch people living by the water. The Spanish pavilion, meanwhile, tells the history of the connection between the Iberian Peninsula and the Islamic world…

The UAE is the 30th country I have explored in my life. Here, I finally understood what “humble and persistent, timid but fearless” is in Level-5 Leadership.

Discover all that’s possible. This is the most unique charm of Dubai as the center of hospitality management in the world.

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