In just over a year since graduating from Bond University with a degree in International Hotel & Tourism Management, Karen Starck has already experienced the excitement and adventure of a global career in the hospitality industry.
Her first ‘overseas’ stint was just a short hop to Daydream Island on Queensland’s beautiful Great Barrier Reef, where she undertook an internship arranged by the Business Faculty’s Department of Hotel and Tourism Management.
Then, in February this year, Karen was accepted into the Shangri-La Corporate Trainee Program and, within two weeks, had packed her bags and headed off to her first posting at the group’s Traders Hotel property in Yangon, Myanmar.
“The traineeship consists of a 16-month development program, divided into three stages,” says Karen.
“For the first two months in Yangon, I worked in every department of the hotel – from the front office and house-keeping to human resources and finance – to learn the basics of how the Shangri-La group hotels operate.
“I then transferred across to Zhuhai in China to attend the Shangri-La Academy and to work in their hotel in Qingdao.
“I’m now back in Yangon, doing on-the-job training in various food and beverage outlets and, for my final six months, I’ll take on an acting position as Service Leader.”
Aside from being able to speak four languages, Karen attributes her success to Bond’s partnership with a global hospitality brand like Shangri-La and the practical experience component of her degree.
“I think that having a degree from Bond really increased my initial chances of being considered for Shangri-La’s Corporate Traineeship Program,” she said, “and the fact that I’d had a lot of experience working in the industry was undoubtedly a big help, too.”
Securing a position at Shangri-La was one of Karen’s career goals before she even enrolled at Bond – so she is proof positive that Bond really can “bring your ambitions to life”.
“The best part about working in hotel management is that you get the opportunity to experience and explore so many different countries and cultures,” she says.
“In my first year out of uni, I’ve sampled Myanmar and China … who knows where else my career will take me.”