Minyi Hu was born and brought up in a town called Sanxiang, inZhongshan, China. When she was 11 years old her family moved to England. They moved three times in just two years, but eventually settled in Walsall in the West Midlands and opened a Chinese takeaway.
Now 21, Minyi is a student at the Edge Hotel School and recently won a scholarship from the Edge Foundation. However, her journey to a degree in hotel management, is almost as circuitous as her journey from China to Walsall.
‘I had always been interested in the studying hotel management and working in the hospitality sector. However, during my last year in the sixth form, I couldn’t find a course I thought would suit me.’
With A-levels in maths and chemistry, it’s not too surprising that Minyi chose to do an apprenticeship in pharmacy. Although she worked with a lovely team she describes as ‘like a family’, after two years Minyi realized it wasn’t for her.
She began to think about her ambitions to work in hospitality, but this time, instead of looking at the UCAS website, she searched on Google and the Edge Hotel School came up.
‘I read the summary of the course and immediately decided to apply. The fact that it is only two years was a big attraction, but it was the opportunity to gain work experience at a four star hotel which really appealed. Being able to develop those practical skills seemed so valuable and wasn’t something other university courses offered.’
Two months into her BA in Hotel Management and Minyi has happily settled in and say the tutors and the whole team at the Edge Hotel School are really supportive.
‘The tutors all have professional backgrounds. It makes lectures much more interesting and it’s easier to absorb the information because they have practical examples and their own experiences which they share.’
So far, Minyi has worked in the kitchen and on the reception desk and says the professional staff in the hotel are very friendly and willing to answer questions. She feels that because the hospitality industry is so focused on customer service, practical experience is essential.
‘One thing I have learned is the importance of communication, not just with guests and customers, but between colleagues and departments. I have already witnessed how poor communication can create problems. It was not a big problem and we were able to rectify it, but when you are involved in a situation like that, you understand the skillset you need to develop more clearly. In this sector, reputation is everything.’
While the work experience will clearly give Minyi an edge over her less experienced peers, she also appreciates the opportunity to work in different areas of the hotel and have a clearer idea of where she would like to focus her career.
‘In ten years, I would like to be a manager for one of the large hotel groups, like Hilton. I plan to take advantage of as many work experience opportunities as possible during the next two years, then I will apply for a graduate programme and work my way up.’
Minyi may have come a long way from Sanxiang to Colchester, but she’s clearly ambitious to go a lot further!