Despite a career which has already seen him working at prestigious establishments like The Ritz, Hilton and the Bank of England, 21 year old Toby Bonnett describes himself as being ‘most at home walking the dog or in the local pub with friends and family.’
Currently a Graduate Manager with Swiss global finance company, UBS, Toby graduated from the Edge Hotel School earlier this year with a 1st class BA (Hons) degree in Hotel Management, but it is the practical experience he gained alongside his academic work that he credits with giving him the professional edge.
‘It is vital. Once you step into industry from university of hotel school, there is an instant expectation that you will have mastered the basic operational tasks such as making a fantastic coffee or laying a perfect table setting. This is something traditional institutions often struggle to offer, but that practical experience has given me huge amounts of confidence in my new role, being able to get stuck in from the start with minimal instruction.’
Toby was born and brought up on the Isle of Wight where he attended a small boarding school and later a grammar school completing 12 GCSEs and A-Levels in Economics, History and Politics and an AS-Level in Biology.
Despite a heavily academic background, Toby began working in the hospitality industry and loved every second, but he noticed that colleagues with degrees were progressing faster, which prompted him to apply to the Edge Hotel School.
‘They had a range of interpersonal and management skills gained during their studies, as opposed to the primarily craft based skills on non-graduates. EHS provided the best of both worlds allowing me to continue the operational work I enjoyed, and get the skills to progress in the class room.’
Toby says that though the course was ‘tough’, he really values the experience of studying, living and working with the same group of people, crediting it with building team work skills and camaraderie.
And the most important things he learned at the Edge Hotel School?
‘Not to fear failure! EHS taught me to calculate, try and then seek correction. I have the interpersonal skills to assert myself as a manager of a team and I also learned to view the larger picture and focus on profitability as the core business objective which is important at an organisation like UBS.’
Toby’s entrepreneurial streak has led him to launch a new private dining business which offers guests the chance to experience fine dining in some of London’s most exclusive residential properties and business and industry spaces. His ultimate ambition is to create a franchise model by which chefs and hosts are able to operate under the brand, hosting their own autonomous events in international locations.
Of his time at the Edge Hotel School, Toby says:
‘I love telling people I went to a hotel school, as to me it is prestigious.’