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Chelsea McKay

Chelsea McKay

Why did you choose to study at ICMS?

I have always had a strong passion for food and, more recently, wine. Initially I aspired to become a chef. I had hopes of opening a restaurant and serving people beautiful food. However, I lacked the knowledge and experience to do such a thing, and so began searching for a school where I could gain the necessary skills and knowledge to run a successful business. I began looking into a range of courses related to hospitality, until my aunt, once a chef who now manages kitchens, recommended ICMS.

Hospitality Management offers me an extensive range of career opportunities, far more than a chef apprenticeship would. It also provided me with other opportunities to grow as a person, such as moving away from home, developing a sense of professionalism, maintaining balance between my studies, extra curricular commitments such as work, being a Student Ambassador and a Residential Assistant, and of course my social life. Additionally, after growing up on a dairy farm, the prospect of living a five-minute walk from the beach was the deciding factor.

How would you describe the quality of teaching staff at ICMS? How have they supported you during your studies to date?

The teaching staff, so far, have been quite nurturing of my interests, abilities and also the areas where I struggle. I think attitude helps a great deal, by showing a positive attitude and a genuine interest in my studies I have generated respectful relationships with my lecturers, particularly since the class sizes are so small.

Have you had any practical experiences so far?

Last term, through Hospitality Operations 1, I attended two site inspections. The first was to Four Pines Brewery, Brookvale. This site inspection aimed to develop our understanding of beer, and the small-scale production of craft beers. We also visited the function areas of Luna Park, gaining an understanding of the connection between tourism, events and hospitality. This was followed by a dinner overlooking the harbour, where we were able to experience a Russian style of table service. This term, through Rooms Divisions Management, we were given the opportunity to experience the housekeeping operations within 4.5-5 star hotels. I completed my placement at the Grace Hotel Sydney. I also represented ICMS at the HotelWorld Conference at the Sofitel Sydney over 28 and 29 July, which will be a fantastic opportunity for me as I am so new to the industry.

What have been your highlights so far?

The highlights so far have been the wine tasting we completed as part of Hospitality Operations 1. We even had the opportunity to do a wine tasting with a representative from Moet and Hennessey. These wine tastings have developed my knowledge and nurtured my passion for wine, and were also great fun. I have also loved my Hospitality Operations 2 class, where we are gaining skills in bar service and cocktail preparation. This included the opportunity to create our own signature cocktail!

What are your plans for when you complete your degree?

My current plans revolve around my love for food and wine and I think this could take me anywhere, which is exciting! I hope to work in food and beverage in hotels, I would love to work with the Starwood brand and also the Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa. However my ultimate goal is to own a winery, with a bed and breakfast or restaurant attached. The area I originate from has the perfect conditions for growing wine, and is also surrounded by so much natural beauty. So I would love to combine my passion for food and wine with the skills and knowledge I will hopefully gain working in hotels to establish a great business and hopefully a beautiful restaurant, which also celebrates the incredible produce I have grown up around.

You were awarded one of the ICMS Professional Scholarship. Congratulations! What motivated you to apply?

I knew I was passionate about the industry and while I doubted my chances, I was driven to get into ICMS no matter what it took! I felt as though ICMS was the ideal school for me and receiving a scholarship would be an incredible stepping-stone.

Why did you choose to live on campus?

The location is so beautiful and also for the convenience. It is my first time living away from home so the prospect of renting, paying bills and buying groceries all while trying to maintain my marks was a little too daunting for me. Living on campus just makes life so much easier, I have a close-knit group of friends, live in a castle in Manly, am only minutes from the beach and am now a residential assistant after only one term, which allows me the opportunity to give a little back to the college.

What do you love most about being at ICMS?

I love meeting so many people from such a variety of cultures and ethnicities and the small size of the college as it allows for such a close knit community feel.

What advice would you give to someone considering study at ICMS?

To pursue your passion and your goals, and to work hard! There are so many incredible opportunities available here, if you give 110% always you will achieve great things.

About the ICMS Professional Scholarship

For details about the ICMS Professional Scholarship, including how to apply. Click here.


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