Climbing the Ladder: Wittenborg Graduate Pursuing Successful Career in Hospitality
Siddhartha Majumdar Combining Hard Work and Focus to Achieve his Goals
“It is all about keeping your focus on the right things, avoiding distractions and making sure that every day of your life, whatever you are doing, you are doing it for a reason and not wasting time,” reflects Siddhartha Majumdar, who completed a bachelor’s degree in Sport Business Management last year at Wittenborg.
Currently, Siddhartha is working as the Operations and Administrative manager at the Veluwse Horeca Club, being in charge of three restaurants. In order to get there, he had to undergo a journey that took him from Calcutta, India, to the Netherlands, and required him to work hard to climb every step of his career to the present moment.
The alumnus explains that when he was in India, he intended to study sports, but because Indian programmes in this field are not recognised worldwide, he decided to move abroad. Wittenborg stood out to him because, in addition to being in the Netherlands, a country that is open to different cultures, the way the programme was structured matched his goals, and the tuition fees were within his family’s budget.
At 18 years old, moving across the world on his own to pursue his studies was the beginning of a completely new experience for Siddhartha.
“I left my family, friends and everything I knew behind and came to the Netherlands to explore new possibilities. I didn’t know anyone here, and it was difficult in the beginning. The first big challenge that I had to face was doing everything by myself. I had never cooked before because up to that moment I had been living with my parents, and they took care of that. So, in the first few weeks after arriving here, I would eat instant noodles all the time and I even managed to burn my pan while cooking it. But I eventually learned how to cook and now I like it.”
Besides becoming more independent, by studying at Wittenborg he had the opportunity to develop skills and competencies that would be important for his future career. “At Wittenborg, I acquired various competencies that you need in order to operate in the outside world. The first of them was time management, because the school offers four-year courses squeezed into three years. That brings a sense of responsibility, because I knew I had to finish it in time, since my parents were paying for the whole programme, so I realised I had to spend my time wisely. I also learned how to work efficiently and developed important communication and people skills,” the graduate says.
Moreover, Siddhartha was able to acquire important intercultural skills by studying at a business school that is so international. “The fact that you are always interacting with people from different cultures means you learn how to take their feelings into account. When you are saying something, you become more aware of your surroundings. And because everybody there is away from home, like you, you relate to them and develop your empathy.”
Starting a career abroad
A few months after moving to the Netherlands, Siddhartha started working as a part-time food deliverer, marking his first paid job. Soon afterwards, he was hired by a pancake restaurant, where he worked for the next three years in the kitchen and sometimes at the counter.
According to Siddhartha, these experiences enabled him to develop important values such as discipline and a strong work ethic. “I learned the importance of arriving early for work, dressing professionally and being responsible, as well as how to maintain a balance between my private life and work. I also wanted to earn money and have a stable lifestyle, so while all of my friends were going on vacation during summer, I would be working. This helped me during the COVID-19 pandemic because although there were no jobs available for anyone, I had managed to save some money.”
In addition to his regular work, the student also did two internships at a Dutch football academy, being first a marketing intern and later an assistant to the company’s operational director. For him, this was a way to develop important practical skills and expand his knowledge in the field of sports business, which was connected to his studies.
Siddhartha says the fact that he can speak some Dutch has been beneficial for his career, highlighting that he learned the language from various sources. “I took some courses at Wittenborg and it helped me improve my Dutch, and I also spoke it with my colleagues, my girlfriend and my teammates, because I used to play football. This is important from a professional perspective because companies here usually prefer to hire Dutch-speaking people.”
After finishing his studies, Siddhartha was offered a new job at the company he had been part of for three years. Since last year, he has been responsible for managing the Veluwse Horeca Club’s three establishments, which in addition to the pancake house include a French-style bistro and a restaurant that is featured in the Michelin guide.
As the company’s Operations and Administrative manager, he is responsible for making sure that the three restaurants are running smoothly and performing to their maximum potential at all times. According to him, the job comes with perks, such as being able to enjoy nice meals and having flexible working times.
However, it also entails challenges. “Currently, I work with approximately 90 people counting all the three establishments. Working with so many people is really difficult because you have to do your best to keep everyone happy,” he stresses.
Having noticed that many international students face difficulties to find internship opportunities in Apeldoorn, Siddhartha is working on opening internship vacancies at the company for Wittenborg students, in areas such as marketing and administration.
“One of the biggest advantages for students is that the internships are in Apeldoorn, so they don't have to travel much. Furthermore, they’ll be joining a fully functioning, successful Dutch company that already has a good yearly revenue and is still growing. There, they will be able to experience both the Dutch work culture and an international atmosphere, because we usually have 20-to-25 international students from various countries working for the company.”
According to him, internships are beneficial for companies because they provide fresh perspectives from individuals who are expanding their knowledge at higher education institutions. “It is also a way for businesses to cultivate talent because some of those people could pursue long-term careers in the company, depending on how they perform. The Veluwse Horeca Club is expanding, so there will definitely be opportunities for professionals who are hard-working and fit into the organisation.”
Asked about his future plans, Siddhartha says he intends to stay in the Veluwse Horeca Club and do his best to help the company grow even more. He advises current students to be sensible, responsible and committed. “Just work hard and good things will come your way, simple as that.”
by Ulisses Sawczuk