A Career in Hospitality
Opens up the World to You
Life takes the graduates of the 1st International School of Ostrava to unexpected places. One of
them, Martin Vu, got a degree in International Tourism and Hospitality Management from Oxford
Brookes University, which he claims opened up the world to him.
Why did you decide to study hospitality?
It started off as a mere interest in travelling. A career in
hospitality opens up the world to you. You can work in
various countries while meeting people from different
backgrounds and cultures. Some hotel chains offer free
or discounted accommodation in all of their branches
around the world. Becoming a hotel manager isn’t
just a career, it’s a lifestyle choice. You are more than
just a waiter or receptionist. You organise events and
catering, manage finances and travel arrangements
and deal with sustainability and human psychology.
Good grades are always a bonus if
you want to secure a place in your dream
University, but personally I consider my
International Baccalaureate Diploma
along with the English language skills,
to be one of my greatest assets.
Extraordinary days and special events become your
daily bread. Dealing with people on a daily basis is
demanding but rewarding at the same time. You get to
spend plenty of time with your colleagues, it’s as if they
become your work family. It is a lifestyle that makes
you yearn for more, especially when you are at the top
of the profession. Top hotels and restaurants aren’t
just expensive for the sake of it. You pay extra because
their employees have high-quality knowledge and skills
that they have gained over many years.
Where did you study? And what does it take for
a Czech student to get accepted to this University?
I studied International Tourism and Hospitality
Management at Oxford Brookes University, which is one
of the top ten Universities for Tourism and Hospitality
Management in the world. Good grades are always a bonus
if you want to secure a place at your dream University,
but personally I consider my International Baccalaureate
Diploma along with the English language skills I gained at
1st International School of Ostrava to be my greatest assets.
Both my high school and University education focused
on critical thinking, searching and processing information,
argument skills and establishing connections.
What does a hospitality management student’s
profile look like? How did your University education
help in your career?
It was very important for me to learn computer
programming and work with MS Word and Excel. I also
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improved my presentation skills in PowerPoint and
Prezi, studied languages and refined my writing skills.
It’s essential to possess empathy and have good people
skills. Top Universities aren’t necessarily the ones with big
budgets. When I first started, the University buildings were
in a derelict state. It’s the connections and collaboration
that make it a top University. Other British Universities
don’t offer the same opportunities. In my previous
employment as a managerial assistant, I was responsible
for creating the standards across the hotel and its various
departments. The skills I gained through my University
education were a distinct advantage when it came to
efficiency, competition and salary negotiation. I gained
a high level of Spanish language skills at 1st International
School of Ostrava which I put to good use when
supervising a team of 30 Spanish-speaking employees.
I wouldn’t have been able to manage the team effectively
without my Spanish language knowledge.
was open to new experiences
new skills in each job.
This makes me a well
What are the attributes of a good hotel manager?
It’s important to be versatile and familiar with all the areas
of hospitality. So far, I’ve worked in various departments,
divisions and real estates. You should be open-minded
and willing to learn new things. Knowledge is power.
Therein lies the difference between an excellent and
an exceptional employee. I’ve worked as a chef, waiter,
sommelier, event organiser, security guard, housekeeper
and receptionist. I was open to new experiences and
learned new skills in each job. This makes me a well
rounded individual. I’ve never missed an opportunity
to learn something new. Every experience is useful
because, now as a hotel supervisor, I understand the
challenges my team members have to face on a daily
basis. Theoretical knowledge isn’t enough. Everything
needs to be balanced. And of course, having knowledge
in the English language at a high level is a must.
Martin, thank you for the interview.