How Four BMIHMS Alumni Graduated Straight into Hotel Consulting Roles at AHS Advisory

How Four BMIHMS Alumni Graduated Straight into Hotel Consulting Roles at AHS Advisory

BMIHMS graduates show that with some hard work and a good education, you can fast track your way into some incredible hotel consulting roles straight out of your degree.

To be a successful hotel consultant you must have a broad, in-depth and confident understanding of the hotel and tourism market. 

You may think that means you need a long hotel career behind you, before you can even consider this exciting and diverse position – a role that can take you all around the world to help plan, develop and grow hotel businesses.

In fact - as I tell my students -it’s not an impossible dream for a young graduate to become a consultant.

Four talented graduates of the Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School (BMIHMS) at Torrens University Australia offer living proof that with some hard work, community support and a good education, you can fast track your way into some incredible hotel consulting roles straight out of your degree. 

 How Four BMIHMS Alumni Graduated Straight into Hotel Consulting Roles at AHS Advisory

Introducing AHS Advisory 

“AHS Advisory provides timely and valuable insights and data on the hotel industry educating hoteliers and owners on the management of hotel performance in each of Australia's capital cities.” Carol Giuseppe, General Manager Operations National /NSW Accommodation Association.

Founded in 2003 by Ron de Wit, AHS Advisory has since become one of Australia’s foremost specialist hospitality real estate and hotel consulting companies. They have an impressive track record of successful projects throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

The AHS Advisory team comprises a close group of experienced hospitality professionals under the guidance of Ron de Wit, Managing Director, Jennifer Davey, Director of the Sydney office and Damien Little, Director of the Melbourne office. 

Jennifer also happens to be a long-time BMIHMS lecturer and I have been fortunate to work alongside her on a number of projects. She is a passionate and talented lecturer, who works hard to help her students reach their potential. 

For any hotel consultancy, the company’s team of advisors is it’s greatest asset. 

Ron, Jenniferand Damien must have full confidence in all of their consultants, because the stakes are so high for the large-scale projects on which they consult. 

Over the years, Jennifer has been able to cultivate a strong relationship between AHS Advisory and BMIHMS. So, when AHS Advisory decides to take on fresh talent, naturally they look at students at BMIHMS whom they already know and trust.  

“We looked for those students who have displayed initiative and drive but most of all students who have passion, a sense of fun and commitment to our industry whether in Australia or globally.  

We embrace all nationalities and age groups. Our success has been founded on growing and challenging each team member, both to realise their own potential and to educate all of our team, regardless of position.”  – Jennifer Davey, Director Sydney Office, AHS Advisory

“Many of these characteristics were evident in the BMIHMS students and we were fortunate to be able to get to know students personally through the lecturing and tutoring process.” – Ron de Wit, Managing Director, AHS Advisory

Today, the AHS Advisory team includes four BMIHMS alumni: Irina Markarova, Josephine Chong, Martyna Zaczek, and Amelia Perez. These BMIHMS graduate recruits comprise close to half of the entire team, and I am lucky to have taught some of them during their time with us.

Here’s how these talented graduates ended up in the AHS Advisory family, straight out of hotel management school. 

Irina’s story

Irina Markarova was the first ever BMIHMS student to complete an industry placement with AHS Advisory. Luckily, she happened to be studying her Master’s Degree of International Hotel Management just as the company signed up for participation in the industry placement program.

During her placement she fell in love with the company (she believes this is mutual) and with the field of hotel consulting. The experienced opened a whole new chapter in her working career. 

Since she graduated in 2015, she has continued to work with AHS Advisory as a Market Research Analyst focusing on the hotel industry, and is juggling her career with being a mum of two.

Irina is particularly grateful for the research skills she learned during her journey with BMIIHMS, because she uses these skills every single day in her current consulting role. 

The school also allowed her to meet people around the world, benefiting from a unique cultural diversity that is so important when working in a global industry.

Irina’s advice to the future graduates is to, “take advantage of any opportunities you may see in these current, difficult times and consider the real-life lessons that you can learn about crisis management.”

Josephine’s story

Time flew by quickly for Josephine Chong during her two-year Master’s of International Hotel Management. An ambitious student, she was determined to make the most of her time at BMIHMS, working hard, taking on roles in the SRC, and becoming a Campus Life Ambassador, Academic Ambassador and Library Ambassador. 

All her hard work paid off. She graduated in March 2019, winning the Academic Excellence Gold Medal – for attaining the best results among the graduating cohort - and was the recipient of the Hyatt Graduate Privileged Partners Program Award.

During her final year, Josephine was selected to be part of an industry project team, which I supervised alongside Jennifer Davey. Equipped with the research skills taught in school, the team completed a report to address real-life operational issues for a dedicated conference facility located in Sydney. 

The project triggered Josephine’s interest in the consulting field. Jennifer Davey welcomed her into the AHS Advisory family, and the rest is history.  

Josephine sees the AHS Advisory team like a giant teddy bear, embracing every individual with open arms and with everyone working tightly like knitwear. 

Her advice to hotel management students right now comes in the form of a quote from James Lane Allen: “Adversity does not build character, it reveals it.” 

She recommends one should use the current time to assess priorities in life, and remember to appreciate the little things.

Martyna’s story

For Martyna Zaczek, the pathway from BMIHMS to AHS Advisory wasn't a straight line. 

It began in 2018, when she had the opportunity to participate in a two-month supplementary project for one of the school’s industry partners, led by BMIHMS and supervised by Jennifer Davey and myself.

Following this, Martyna submitted two successful applications for internships at both AHS Advisory and Sheraton Grand on the Park Hotel (in a revenue management role). No stranger to hard work, she completed both at the same time.

Having graduated from her Master’s Degree of International Hotel Management just last year, she received an offer to stay on in AHS Advisory as a full-time employee. The company has allowed Martyna to continue working as a consultant, while following her dream of living on the beach in Western Australia. 

Now, she's the Perth AHS Advisory Manager specialising in Western Australia's tourism and hotel industry, and leading assignments all around the country. I’m pleased to say that she has also joined our staff, and now tutors casually at BMIHMS.

Martyna’s time as a student with us helped her not only with industry knowledge and language learning, but also with networking and meeting hotel professionals on every level. 

To her, Australia is a lucky place with beautiful people, fascinating career opportunities and the most stunning landscapes in the world.

Martyna's advice for students is this: “Think about who you want to be in ten years and take the first step towards this person today. Don't be afraid of taking a risk or failing, because every successful professional fails and makes mistakes in life, and the only failure is not trying. 

Every disruption creates new opportunities, so it's a perfect time for brave, young and creative hoteliers to shine.”

Amelia’s story

Amelia Perez is the newest team member at AHS Advisory, having been with them just since the beginning of 2020.

Amelia graduated this year from BMIHMS with a Bachelor of Business in International Hotel and Resort Management; a course that she found gave her a good balance of academic study and hands-on practice. 

Her two-and-a-half year journey at BMIHMS was filled with challenges, from adapting to a different culture, to comfortably communicating in a different language. Thankfully, she discovered that BMIHMS has a very supportive team assisting students in adjusting to life in Australia.  

During her studies, as Amelia was trying to find a specific area of focus for her career, the subject ‘Facilities Management’ caught her attention. It wasn’t just that she found the content interesting, she was also inspired by the passion of the lecturer, Jennifer Davey, and her tutor, Martyna Zaczek.

After hearing of the work that AHS Advisory was involved with, Amelia expressed her interest to join their team. She sent in an application, went through an interview process, and started working at AHS Advisory in January  - initially as an intern and then as a full-time consultant. 

Following AHS Advisory’s rule number one – to always have fun – Amelia had the immediate opportunity to immerse herself in projects across several locations in Australia. 

In a short period of time she has grown so much.

She’s certainly been busy; collaborating in the preparation of market outlooks, supporting the team with strategic consulting research and undertaking report preparation, as well as developing the company’s social media and marketing platforms. 

So far, a highlight of her role has been to work on a project based in Tonga.  Although unable to visit because of coronavirus restrictions, she’s found it refreshing and exciting to research the resort opportunity and local culture, and to imagine visiting Tonga, despite the lockdown. 

She has an exciting and rewarding career ahead of her, and I’m very proud of her, as I am of all my hard-working BMIHMS Students. 

Congratulations Amelia, Martyna, Josephine, and Irina. 

You have all provided an inspiring example of what a BMIHMS student can achieve, and we are honoured to have you representing us in the world of hotel consulting at AHS Advisory. 

I’m sure you’ll go on to achieve every success you set your minds to. 

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