From car park attendant to top executive at Accor Hotels in the United Kingdom and Ireland, International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) graduate Luke Baker is proof that an ICMS scholarship is a launching pad for career success.
Baker has recently been promoted to the position of Operations and Compliance Manager of Franchise Hotels United Kingdom and Ireland. He graduated in 2013 with an ICMS Bachelor of Hospitality Management, and was the recipient of the prestigious Touraust Scholarship in his final year.
For Baker, the Touraust Scholarship not only helped financially, but he reaped the rewards of support, networking, and a boost to his CV.
“Having the Touraust Scholarship on my CV has been a big benefit and helped me move into different roles in hospitality. On your CV it indicates to potential employees that you were chosen to represent ICMS as an ambassador and that you are capable of doing the same for them,” he said.
“The Touraust Scholarship helps a lot with the tuition fees, but that is not the only and best benefit, it is the opportunity you get given to build your profile while you are still studying and start to make connections with people in your chosen industry.”
The Touraust Scholarship is just one of many scholarships awarded by ICMS, together with industry partners, as part of the ICMS Scholarship Fund. Over $1 million in scholarships have been awarded this year alone.
Scholarships take varying forms and are offered by ICMS, located on the Northern Beaches, NSW, to top candidates – both domestic, international, new and existing – in conjunction with industry partners. Scholarships comprise tuition fee waivers, cash and work placement opportunities. This is designed to ensure recipients are given every opportunity to make a success of their chosen career and according to an ICMS survey, almost 90% of students graduate with a job in their field.
“We continue to reward those that strive, work hard and achieve and, increasingly, also to those in need. We want these opportunities to change lives” ICMS Scholarship Fund and Aspiring Education Foundation chair Ann Whitelock Courtney-O’Connor said at a recent Scholarship Ceremony. Scholarship sponsors include ANZ Bank, Accor Hotels, HOSTPLUS, New South Wales Rugby League, Northern Beaches Council, South Rugby League Club and Front Row Events.
Baker has been working for AccorHotels for over seven years now, having started originally working in the bar at Novotel Manly Pacific while studying at ICMS.
“During my time at Novotel Manly I was able to continually develop myself and moved from Food & Beverages into the Front Office. I started as a car park attendant and, after graduating from ICMS, was able to work my way up to being a night manager,” he said.
“I was lucky enough to be selected as part of the AccorHotels Graduate Management Traineeship (GMT) and continued to learn more about hotel operations at the Mercure Potts Point during the year the program ran. It was a very challenging role, as the hotel was situated in the heart of Kings Cross, which meant I had to deal with many difficult situations that really helped me to think on my feet and have faith in the decisions I made on a day-to-day basis.
“After this role I became the Front Office Assistant Manager of Mercure Sydney, a 517 room hotel across the road from Sydney Central Station. This also helped me grow a lot as the sheer size of the hotel meant we were very busy every day and forced me to adapt my management style in order to get the most out of the team.”
It was then, in 2016, that Baker decided to make the leap to London in order to learn, grow and experience more as well as to be able to travel and see more of Europe while doing so.
He quickly found his feet, and secured the role of loyalty Operations Executive in the AccorHotels Head Office where he was able to work on projects with senior members of the AccorHotels UK management team.
“The UK has been very successful with the Loyalty Programme over the past few years and through this, I have been able to grow my profile over here. I help support over 220 hotels in the UK and Ireland with anything from Brand Compliance, customer complaints to presenting the UK and Ireland Le Club results to the AccorHotels VP of Loyalty for Europe, Middle East and Africa and his team.”
Building on this success, Baker has been promoted to the position of Operations and Compliance Manager from Franchise hotels in the UK and Ireland, starting from 1 November.
“This role entails me creating relationships with the owners of our Franchise hotels, working with them to ensure that each hotel continually upholds and operates with excellence as well as keeping the hotel compliance within the brand guidelines,” he explained.
“The ICMS Bachelor of Hospitality degree has given me a solid foundation to start work within the hospitality industry. The lessons I learned there were more than management and leadership skills; they gave me a much deeper understanding of the hospitality industry. I also learned a lot about myself during my time there and grew in confidence which has played a big part of my success today,” he said.
“I would have to say that ICMS comes very highly recommended as a place to help develop you into a Hospitality Professional. I finished at ICMS in 2013 as a bar attendant/car park attendant at Novotel Manly and in 2017 I am the Franchise Operations and Compliance Manager at Accor Hotels in the United Kingdom and Ireland. I have been able to use the skills and lessons I learned at ICMS to get me to where I am now.”
For more information on the ICMS scholarship programme, click here: https://www.icms.edu.au/scholarships