Kristina Iatsenko Seizes Chance to Develop Career
By doing an internship at the Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel, where she has been working since December, Wittenborg IBA student Kristina Iatsenko, specialising in Hospitality Management, has been able to develop multiple skills. As a front office agent, Iatsenko is responsible for checking guests in and out, handling their requests, making reservations, managing information systems and answering emails and phone calls, among other tasks.
In her view, internships provide students with great opportunities to gain experience and knowledge. “By studying at Wittenborg, I have learned many useful things, such as the financial and accounting part and the modules related to the hospitality industry, which have helped me understand what my attitude towards guests should be. But the theoretical part is only 30% of what you should know, and the other 70% is practical competencies that you can only learn on the job,” she says.
To get this position, Iatsenko made use of her personal network, going through her mobile phone’s contact list and writing to people whom she thought could give her tips. After texting a fellow Wittenborg student who had worked for the Marriott hotel chain, she was able to contact one of Renaissance Amsterdam’s managers and schedule an interview. “The connections with people are very important, they are much more effective than just going online and searching for something randomly, so students should develop their network. LinkedIn is also useful and even though I did not take it very seriously at first, I have realised that people really help each other there,” she stresses.
Iatsenko also highlights that being prepared for job interviews is essential and mentions that the development portfolio she had to create for Wittenborg, as part of her programme, gave her a good notion of her main strengths and skills. “One important thing that candidates must keep in mind is that job interviews are supposed to be dialogues. So, at the end of the interview, when they ask you if you have questions, never say ‘no’, because by asking questions, you show you are interested in the place you want to work at. Besides, it also gives you the chance to learn more about the company and get relevant information,” she adds.
Regarding the main challenges she has had to face during her internship, Iatsenko says that the last weeks have been physically demanding. “Apart from writing my graduation assignment, I am working between 38 and 40 hours per week at Renaissance, and because I live in Apeldoorn, I spend two and a half hours commuting back and forth every day. On top of that, I have to work in different shifts, which makes it difficult to organise my routine.”
However, she considers this experience to be valuable for her future career and says she is very happy about the place she has chosen to work at. “My internship ends in February, but I am planning to go back to Renaissance in June, after I graduate, because I really enjoy working there; the team is wonderful and identify with the company’s values. I would like to gain more experience and progress to become a supervisor.”
Being originally from Russia, Iatsenko intends to stay in the Netherlands for the zoekjaar (orientation year), working on developing her career in hospitality. She says that, even if she decides to go back to her home country in the future, the fact that she has worked for Marriott, an international hotel chain, will provide her with significant career prospects. “I want to make the most of this opportunity because I am really passionate about hospitality. For me, it is important to ensure guests have memorable and unique experiences, and it is always gratifying when they are thankful because I helped them have a good time.”
by Ulisses Sawczuk