From BHI to EHL, Yi Jiasheng’s Fantastic Journey
Interview with Cason Yi Jiasheng, 2012 intake student of BHI, who transferred to EHL in September 2015, Mr. Vincent Pimont, General Manager of Peninsula Paris
Cason Yi Jiasheng, a 2012 intake student of Beijing Hospitality Institute (BHI), transferred to Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne(EHL) in September 2015 to pursue his double Bachelor degrees. As a student ambassador of EHL as well as an executive ambassador of Young Hoteliers Summit Asia, Cason is now undergoing his internship at Peninsula Paris, his third internship with the Peninsula Group.
Interview with the executive office of The Peninsula Paris:
Cason, how did you decide to choose the hospitality industry and to join the Beijing Hospitality Institute?
Well, it’s a really long story, but it basically goes like this. My dad took me to different hotels when I was little and I found it quite interesting to work in such strict outfits in a gorgeous building where people are always smiling. We celebrated my sixth birthday in the bar of a hotel, which was a big surprise to me. The band played a birthday song for me and the staff presented a birthday cake…It was more than enough to make me happy and to move me as a six-year-old boy. So if it’s all about creating unforgettable memories for your guests, why not? And as I have grown up and visited different places, I have found that it is always less likely that a higher-level hotel will see a problem or an issue occur in front of guests. An average hotel might solve a problem once it arises, while a good hotel may solve a problem before it affects guests and harms the interests of the hotel.
However, an excellent hotel will do its homework before anything happens. The management would foresee potential issues that may trouble us in the future so that adequate precautions are completed in order to prevent a problem from even happening. I think it is true for all businesses that it is best to prevent any potential problems from occurring in order to protect the interests and the business. Additionally, good money is created with a proper strategy, management, supervision and execution.
After I graduated from high school in Guangzhou, I struggled with the decision to stay in the country or go abroad. Finally, I made my decision to stay in the country first and then go abroad, and I chose BHI, which is the first hotel school to offer a bachelor programme recognized by Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne in the country. Secondly, experience in Beijing is necessary, as Beijing is the capital city, the cultural centre and the political centre of the country, while the whole country is a huge market for the industry.
How was your experience at BHI?
Cason YiI spent the last three years (six semesters including two internships) as a BHI student before I transferred to EHL. It was a wonderful period, when I really got to know and understand the industry. I participated in a lot of events and activities. I was a volunteer in the VIP Reception Department during the China Open. I was, and still am, the Executive Ambassador of the Young Hoteliers Summit Asia, for which I was once the Master of Ceremony and a member of the Marketing Department. These events gave me real experiences in, for example, how to cooperate better with my team, how to hold the scene when something goes wrong as the MC and the process designer and controller, how to limit the damage when things happen. I benefitted greatly from it.
This was also a time when I made a lot of good friends, met some great teachers, had two memorable internships and had some amazing bosses who taught me a lot. I also received scholarships. Teachers gave me courses and advice. Generally speaking, it was an unforgettable three years with all of you.
Career fair in BHI in 2013
Why did you join The Peninsula Group?
Well, to be honest, I wasn’t so sure about starting my career with The Peninsula at first just because I enjoyed the music in the lobby of The Peninsula Hong Kong. Plus, I couldn’t say that I would pass the interview with 100% confidence. It was around May 2013 that I attended my first career fair in the BHI ballroom, where we had literally 75 choices in front of us and different people from different hotels speaking different languages. Then, I saw the huge counter of The Peninsula Beijing. There were four interviewers sitting there talking with our students, and two more colleagues helping to distribute application forms and talking to the students who were waiting. Yet another colleague standing behind a smaller, but still unique, Peninsula counter next to the main one was answering questions from potential candidates. I was attracted by the number of people there before I noticed that the four interviewers were actually the Hotel Manager, the Director of Human Resources, the Director of Rooms and the Executive Coordinator of Food and Beverages, not to mention the huge, well-designed counters and gifts, and a personal mentor who guides you and monitors you 24/7 (at work). As a first-year university student, what came to my mind was that The Peninsula Group fully understood the situation of the candidates, and that students would be eager to try different divisions and departments.
One of the best ways to evaluate a candidate is to hold a direct conversation between the applicant and the director of the division, which guarantees that the interview provides a very direct and accurate evaluation and rich feedback. In the meantime, the two colleagues who were talking to the applicants waiting in line may also make them feel less nervous and ensure they have someone to turn to when assistance is needed. First, I could see how serious the company took this trainee interview event, and furthermore I could imagine how they would react when it came to a real guest and employee. I made my mind up, right after I discovered all of this, that I was absolutely going for this company.