TFE team members can now earn micro-qualifications from Torrens University Australia as they complete their university coursework. In turn, Torrens University hospitality course students will have access to real-world internships across TFE’s 48-strong Australian hotel network, which includes the only Australian entry in the World’s 50 Best Hotels for 2023.
The first ever hotelier in his family, Aalap Rammurthy started his career as an undergraduate in the corridors of the Institute of Hotel Management in Bangalore, before working as a management trainee at ITC Fortune Park Hotels in Bengaluru. The sociability of the industry was both frightening and exhilarating for the young graduate, who credits the ensuing years of study and on-the-job experience with giving him the life skills to hold good conversations with people from all walks of life and the skills and confidence he needs to work in an industry where “no two days are ever quite the same”.
“I follow stand-up comedians a lot,” he said. “Being able to speak publicly in front of a room full of people and them paying attention to you – it’s a freakish skill to have.”
Aalap says it can be confronting on the frontlines facing guests every day and making decisions, so public speaking is a crucial skill to master.
“We face guests across the desk on a daily basis and deal with a range of situations,” he said. “I used to get nervous, but now I take it all in my stride and welcome the interaction with a smile.”
Migrating to Australia to study International Hotel Management
Aalap migrated to Australia in 2015 to complete his Masters of International Hotel Management at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (which is part of the Torrens University family). The move, he says, was a culture shock in many ways – least of all the sudden immersion in Australia’s coffee culture which has now become engrained in his daily routine (one oat-milk cappuccino, no sugar!), but also the difference in teaching and study habits between the two countries.
“Back home studying in India, you are given textbooks and told the information that will be in your exams,” he says. “Here in Australia, they lecture you, and then you apply those learnings to different scenarios. This teaching method was challenging at first, but also fun. I got to read a lot of articles that gave me a different perspective and allowed me to formulate my own opinions, which was something I wasn’t in the habit of doing in India.”
“Living in a different country gives you a different perspective on life in general,” he said. “But studying the Australian way really appealed to my gamer background… I approached it like it was a puzzle that I had to solve, and that made it fun.”
Practical internship at Adina Apartment Hotel
As part of his coursework at Torrens, Aalap had to undertake a semester’s practical internship at a local hotel. Like most students, he sent applications flying and one landed at the Adina Apartment Hotel Surry Hills, where Aalap says he found his second family.
“The GM at the time, Kristin Alderman, called me in for an interview and I was hired on the spot,” he said. “In fact, they offered me a full-time position and for the rest of my course, I juggled work, play and study. When I graduated, I stayed on because I liked working for TFE Hotels and I really liked the people.”
Since starting with TFE, Aalap has cycled through several brands including Adina and Travelodge, and various roles from Receptionist to Duty Manager to intern. He is currently roosting at Vibe Hotel Darling Harbour as part of the NSW/ACT Relief team, where he says he is learning new skills in the F&B space at the full-service hotel.
It’s been an exciting journey for Aalap and whilst he’s set big goals to be a Hotel GM in the next few years, he hasn’t forgotten his roots and what it feels like to start out in hospitality.
“The best advice I can give young people is to not get disappointed with minor setbacks because everyone experiences those,” he said. “Remind yourself that nobody is perfect and use your setbacks as a learning experience. Be hands-on. Don’t rely on other people to do things for you. And take initiative – make sure tasks are completed before you finish your shift, even if it is not part of your job, and always follow up. If you do that, you’ll do well.”
Wise words from a man well on his track to achieving his dream. Best of luck, Aalap!