Before she became an Alumni Coordinator at the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS), Petra Braat had lived many professional lives. A highly accomplished individual and a local from the stunning Blue Mountains area, Petra has degrees in English Literature, Information Management and Network Publishing.
As well as working in the roles of Library and Intranet Manager in her earlier years at BMIHMS, her diverse qualifications and skills allowed her to lecture across a range of topics: e-commerce, Communication, IT, Research and Project Management, and Management and Leadership.
“Lecturing not only gave me great personal satisfaction and professional development but enabled me to really get to know the students and assist them with their studies in whatever way I could,” Petra explained.
“I have always enjoyed the interactions with students and have had many professional development opportunities along the way.”
Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School alumni network
It was Petra’s passion for supporting the students that led her to step into her current role as the Alumni Coordinator.
The BMIHMS alumni network is huge, global and incredibly diverse. It includes close to 8000 members from over 100 nationalities, located in at least 90 countries across the globe.
With such an enormous community to keep tabs on, Petra is busy coordinating and supporting communications with alumni everywhere, every day.
“On any given day, I am in contact with Alumni all around the world.” Petra shared.
“My role is to provide centralised support for our alumni through regular communication such as newsletters, email, social media and face-to-face chats. I also coordinate networking events around the world with our global Chapter Hosts, connect graduates with each other and promote career opportunities across our network.”
It is thanks to the work of the late Mr Val Cook, who started at the School in 1991 and was Vice Principal, then Alumni Ambassador, that we have such a connected alumni network,” Petra explained.
This incredible community of graduates work in over 50 different professions, with many of them in senior positions.
“I love sharing our graduates’ success in their chosen career paths and am so proud of how they support students on their career journeys as well.
We have many graduates in very senior roles but they always have time to give back to the school and the alumni community. Students make lifelong friends at BMIHMS, and they always remember their shared experiences.”
Current students benefit from the experience and connections that the alumni community has to offer through alumni guest lectures, career and mentoring opportunities, and consultation on industry developments.
“Hospitality is essentially a people-based industry,” Petra explained, “Connecting with people and providing exemplary customer service underpins all our teaching and is practised across all our campuses. Supporting graduates and staying in touch with them is a natural extension of this.”
BMIHMS Learning Facilitators and Applied Trainers also provide additional advice and encouragement to students and recent graduates as they start their career journey.
The Industry Practicum is a subject within most courses and presents an opportunity for students to explore the career opportunities available to them, in addition to building a strong professional network in the hospitality industry.
Many of the connections that students take advantage of for their Industry Practicum are through the alumni. Members of the alumni community often also go on to mentor our students and recent graduates through this process.
Petra explained, “The school, alumni and industry all work together to guide and assist our graduates to become hospitality leaders of the future.”
“While the School may offer a different experience since the days of our early graduates, it is true to say that the spirit of BMIHMS really resides in the alumni community,” Petra shared.
“The friendships the alumni make, the support they provide to each other and their ongoing generosity in supporting the School makes it one of the strongest alumni networks that I have ever come across and it is a joy to work with them.”
For more information about the BMIHMS Alumni, contact Petra Braat.