Now Reading: Interview with Alumni Cindra: GM at Hunter Gatherer, Shanghai

Interview with Alumni Cindra: GM at Hunter Gatherer, Shanghai

Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) Alumni Cindra Jo is an experienced General Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the food & beverage industry.

She is also the Flagship Store General Manager at Hunter Gatherer, Shanghai, the Assistant Director of F&B Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts and a Visiting Lecturer at BMIHMS Suzhou Campus.

After graduating in 2011, Cindra started her first job at BMIHMS Suzhou Campus and has since fulfilled various roles from Food & Beverage lecturer to practical front liner.

She was recently promoted to General Manager at a famous restaurant chain brand in Shanghai.

“Cindra’s best qualities are the can-do attitude and industriousness; she manages to get an incredible amount done in the work day, very often having to work without guidance and outside of her comfort zone, voluntarily stepping up to complete new tasks and using her initiative and multi-cultural knowledge to remedy any situation or challenge that is thrown her way“. – Aaron Hobday, Marketing and Admission leader, who used to work with Cindra together at BMIHMS Suzhou campus in 2012.

We sat down with Cindra to gain insight into what a career in hotel management can look like.

Out of all the experiences at Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School at Torrens University Australia, which did you like the most?

Cindra: It was the first time for me to leave Indonesia to Australia as a foreign country. The moment that is most memorable and that I enjoyed the most was the feeling of being welcomed as an international student by the students and the staff from the BMIHMS Leura Campus. Even now, I can’t forget the experience on the first day when I arrived. I was greeted by the SRC (Students’ Representative Council) and then by the late Mr. Val Cook, the Alumni Ambassador. I remember every time when I walked through the corridor, I passed Mr. Cook’s office and he would say “Hi Cindra, do you want chocolates?” His hospitality made all of us feel at home. He always mentioned to us “If you have anything let us know, maybe we can help. If you need someone to talk to, just talk to us.” It made me feel like home while I was far away from home. We all miss him.

From the skills you obtained at BMIHMS, which were the most important to achieve your career goals?

Cindra: For me personally it is about the subjects taught. The subjects that have helped me the most were Revenue Management and Management of Accounting. The knowledge about numbers has been really valuable to me. I even remember the time when I was at Level 2, we were given one mid assignment where we need to analyze 3 years P&L (Profit and Loss) for a 5 stars hotel. We needed to work out the reason behind the number change. For students, you can imagine how complicated and challenging it was. I later became really familiar with numbers when I got promoted to division head in China. The knowledge that I gained from the subject has been handy for me when it comes to strategy and budgeting as a head who is required to deal with P&L every day normally.

What was your first job in your hotel career?

Cindra: Casual Banquet Attendant at Ritz Carlton Jakarta.

What did you love about your career as a hotelier?

Cindra: There are two dimensions. On the one hand, it’s all about the people we work with and the customers as well. We have the chance to talk with different people from everywhere when working at a hotel, and learning from them. On the other hand, it is the variety of areas we can get involved in, including front office, housekeeping, engineering, food and beverage, finance, sales, and marketing.

What are some of your passions in life?

Cindra: It might sound boring. I love reading, that’s the way I often spend my day off, or just to relax. I read non-fiction books about leadership, management, self-enrichment and lately, I’ve started to read about economics. Not a very easy subject to digest, but very interesting to learn about.

What challenging experiences working in the hotel industry have you had?

Cindra: Not being self – satisfied. What do I mean by that? If we achieve the KPI or goal, self-satisfaction will mean I feel comfortable and relieved; no need to do more. This is a challenge facing me always because I must leave my comfort zone by motivating myself to move on to the next challenge.

What skills did you draw on to best handle these challenges?

Cindra: There is always a challenge. Whenever we encounter very hard problems, I think it is possible for me to achieve. At the very beginning of my career when I started my first internship in Singapore, I had a mentor who told me that no matter what you do, you need to ensure you do it hard. This applies to me whenever I face a challenge. I’ll try my best to do it, and if I don’t overcome the challenges, at least I know I have tried.

What do you think it takes to be an exceptional female leader in a hotel?

Cindra: Make your team proud of what they are doing, and everything will go as it flows.

What advice would you give a young hotelier starting out in their career with the goal of becoming a General Manager?

Cindra: Being a hotelier is all about people. There is a strong focus on the consumer, on serving people, and making people’s lives better. No matter what you do, do it with your heart. It might sound clichéd, but this mantra always works for me.

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