From overcoming a language barrier as a student on Industry Training to her appointment as a General Manager of Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Central Park, part of Marriott International, International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) alumnus Victoria Benevolenskaya’s career in the hospitality industry continues to grow from strength to strength.
Victoria achieved an ICMS Bachelor of Hospitality Management in 2010, and completed a Masters in Business Administration, Hospitality and Tourism, in conjunction with Macquarie University, in 2011.
“One of the best things about hospitality is career progression,” Victoria said.
“Whilst I know GMs who started as chefs or receptionists, and with the right attitude and dedication achieved great things, in my opinion, getting a formal education will fast track one’s career in hospitality.”
Victoria completed her industry training at the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Darling Harbour (now Hyatt Regency) where she learned hotel operations firsthand in what was then the biggest hotel in Australia.
“In actual fact, I was hired during my mock interview with the hotel’s HR manager as Guest Service Agent. Coming to the country, I had no experience working in a hotel and my English was average. My industry placement taught me skills that I still apply in my everyday life such as customer service and problem resolution,” she said.
“You can learn the theory in the classroom but unless you apply it in real life with real customers you won’t grow and develop. It also taught me to work under pressure when on an average Sunday we dealt with 450+ check outs.”
The ICMS Industry placement gave Victoria the opportunity to develop her career as she continued working in the hotel after her industry placement was over, and has been with the same hotel company for over 14 years (Starwood and Marriot). She is currently the General Manager at Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Central Park, part of Marriott International.
Her career path was far from linear and rather guided by networking and seizing opportunities. Having started as a Guest Service Agent, Victoria then moved to Finance at the Sheraton Grand Hyde Park. After completing a stint as a Finance management trainee and several other management programs, she was appointed Director of Finance. She was part of the pre-opening team on Four Points by Sheraton Sydney, Central Park and has been working at this hotel for almost four years.
“Although the last two years have been challenging for the hotel, it offered me the incredible opportunity to be promoted to the General Manager position in late 2020,” Victoria said.
“I get a rush when I step into a busy hotel lobby. The industry is so vibrant and diverse. I love interacting with people, both guests and associates. While the last two years have been very challenging for the industry, hospitality professionals are resilient and able to overcome many challenges.”
The hospitality management program was what initially attracted Victoria to study at ICMS, along with ICMS’ association with world-renowned partner, César Ritz Colleges, Switzerland, as well as the beautiful location of ICMS campuses in Northern Beaches, Sydney, NSW, and in the city of Sydney.
“My time at ICMS taught me professional discipline, developed my excellent work ethic and exposed me to working with people from various backgrounds which was an invaluable experience. The industry training provided a great opportunity to gain practical experience in the Rooms and F&B,” she said.
“Despite being a GM, I still assist in the restaurant and check in guests when the hotel is busy. I have also met wonderful friends along the way. The Hospitality industry is so small and you never know when you will meet your fellow students and ex-colleagues. There are plenty of opportunities in the industry and the company. I only just started my GM journey and I would like to experience different brands and hotels including resorts, and eventually work in the regional office.”
For more information on the ICMS Bachelor of Hospitality Management, click here
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