After having spent six years in Thailand, Virginie Eyraud Mahé, the Room Division Consultant for her own company “Mahé Consulting,” is preparing her departure for Indonesia. She’ll be starting a new life with Renaud Mahe, her husband, who was just hired as the Restaurant Manager of the Sheraton Surabaya on Java.
Both Virginie and Renaud are graduates from Vatel in Nimes, class of 2004, where they first met. Five years later, they got married at the Vatel 5-star Hotel & Spa.
So here’s Virginie’s Success Story; we’ll be telling you Renaud’s a bit later!
Interview on July 5th
Virginie, what made you decide to go to an international hotel management school?
After my high school diploma, I went to law school where I got my Bachelor’s Degree with a major in European and International Law. Going to law school taught me an enormous amount of things in terms of precise and exacting thinking and how to structure my points of view, but during these years I was completely cut off from the world, and after a while, I got fed up with that! Not even a second to open a book other than a law procedures code and not a second to travel. So this boiled down to me being deprived from liberty, traveling, and contacts as well as what else was going on in the world. Plus I didn’t want to be unemployed either, and I had always dreamed of being fluent in English. So the hospitality industry seemed to be evident!
And why did you decide to study in Vatel in Nimes then?
Well, I was born in Nimes, so this was something really practical for me. Elisabeth Cres, the Admissions Officer in Vatel in Nimes, also influenced me in this decision. She is charming, full of energy, and those are priceless qualities. She’s like my “surrogate mom” and will always have a special place in my heart. Plus, the curriculum corresponded exactly to what I was looking for with academic courses followed by practical work in application hotels and restaurants. If I had wanted to become a Chef, I probably would have chosen another school, but for hotel management and hospitality in general, Vatel was the best possible choice and tuition fees were reasonably priced. But what was really the deal clincher for me was that Vatel had a certified diploma.
What memories do you have of the years you spent at Vatel?
A lot of them! I’ll try to sum things up in three points.
1. Sharing courses with students of all nationalities who all have something in common: Love of life and the good things it has, whatever their nationality may be! True friendships were created spanning several classes (thanks to our application weeks, Student Services, and the social networks that allow us to remain in touch today).
2. Student Services. When we arrived, they didn’t exist anymore; Elisabeth and Renaud were able to “resuscitate” them. Renaud was the president and I was the secretary. (Yes, I know this is a cliché, but I can’t help it). We organized projects, international celebrations in Student Lounges, an unforgettable trip to Prague, found sponsors all over the whole region, we met the mayor of Prague and we visited a hotel management school there and discovered an unforgettable city.
3. And of course, meeting Renaud. When I first started to go to Vatel, the one thing I didn’t want was to have a boyfriend at school, and even less, one who was in the same grade as I was! And then, what do you know, all of a sudden, my little six foot tall guy from Marseille who talks and laughs loudly, who lives life to the maximum, showed up. And here we are almost 11 years later (already!) on the other side of the world with our little Arthur who’ll be blowing out four candles on July 25, 2013!
Let’s talk about your internships. Where did you do your first year one?
At the Asteria Suites, a five-star boutique hotel that belongs to the Sani Resort on the Cassandra Peninsula, near Thessaloniki in Greece. I worked in the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, first as a waitress and then as a captain.
What about your second year?
In Thailand, at the Sofitel Silom five-star hotel in Bangkok as a Sales Rep. I was in charge of Corporate and Embassy accounts. And also the Chambers of Commerce in the Europe/Canada segment. But you can say that we were only “interns” because that was what we were doing; we were actually considered to be employees.
Then I worked in Reception at the Front Office and after that as the Night Audit Manager in the InterContinental five-star Hotel in Montreal, Canada. And then back to Bangkok as the Senior Assistant to the Front Office Manager in the Plaza Athenee Bangkok, a Royal Meridian five-star hotel. And finally as a “Rooms Division” and “Operation Excellence” consultant for the entire Meridien Chiang Rai” Hotel, in northern Thailand.
Any messages you’d like to convey, Virginie?
In our jobs, everything is driven by desire and passion. The Hospitality Industry is a very demanding universe, where you can’t count the hours you’ve worked or the bags under your eyes, especially in Asia! In American, things are a bit different legally speaking. Here, a twelve-hour day is the standard, with days off that are either postponed or sometimes even forgotten, because we have to be there for our customers and our teams.
What makes Renaud and me really strong is that we know exactly what our respective constraints are and we are always there to support each other. That could be much more difficult with a partner who knows nothing about this crazy world we work in and who can’t understand why we’re not back at home at 7:00 on the dot like everyone else, and why we’re working when everyone else is having their Christmas dinners!
But having said that, we live a life that others can only imagine when they’re on a two week vacation, and we’ve got the opportunity to dig deeply into different cultures, languages, and types of cooking from all over the world.
Unemployment is a word that we don’t even know the meaning of!
Our little boy is growing up in a cosmopolitan and enriching universe. On week-ends we generally go out on elephant rides or feed fish in the temples or visit parks that have amazing waterfalls between jungles and rice paddies.
So in a nutshell, our lifestyle is a choice with constraints but so many stunning wonders!
Serving others is a priceless quality in the hospitality industry, but not just there. Students with a degree in hotel management are attractive to employers: their qualities make them champions in all types of professions.Read more
The 26th Eurhodip conference took place in Istanbul from October 16 though 20th, with the theme “Together, let’s build bridges.” Roughly a hundred participants from 25 countries and 35 schools attended this event.Read more
With schools throughout the world, nearly four decades of development, the art of hospitality raised to its highest level... And at the heart of the curriculum that made the group’s world recognition: the professors, heralds of Vatel pedagogy.Read more
Senior F&B Instructor at Vatel Bangkok, Isabelle Ferchaud is also the Vatel application restaurant Manager.Read more
With the view to carry forward the professional collaboration and to further reinforce the cordial affinity that the SHM, Ansal University has enjoyed with the IHG Academy- Hotel Crowne Plaza (CP) Gurgaon, executive of both organizations met today.Read more
In respect of the saying that the world of academics must, for the sake of enhancing mutual productivity, go hand-in-hand with the corporate world, a regular industry interface and a close collaboration.Read more
Each year our Group School directors, getting together for the Vatel International Convention, use today’s experiences to continue to invent tomorrow’s schools for our future hospitality professionals.Read more
School of Hospitality Management, Ansal University along with Courtyard by Marriott is planning to set up an Academic Enhancement Program.Read more
The School of Hospitality Signs a First-of-Its-Kind Memorandum of UnderstandingRead more
The study of hotel management subjects, being closely attached to life unless inducted into real life, lose their practical importance.Read more
Be it an international level 20-20 cricket match or be it the one played at the level of the Indian Premier League, the excitement does not remain confined exclusively to those stadiums.Read more
PURANI DILLI ENTERS GURGAON..!!!!!Read more
Vatel cultivates the qualities required to be a good professional in the hospitality industry: being fluent in foreign languages, knowing how to work with other cultures... Hoteliers are attracted by Vatel students’ resumes, as Vateliens can tell us.Read more
François Perraud feels both a hotelier and a financial controller, an expertise that he likes to pass on to Vatel students.Read more
Jeremie de Fombelle has always loved resorts and has seen many of them, before coming to Mauritius. And this is where he really fell in love! But economic competition is stiff. How can you stand out, if not by the quality of your management?Read more
A professor of marketing, corporate promotion and negotiation, Sophie Lot loves adult education and teaches at Vatel Switzerland.Read more
Thanatat Boonpeng: a young Vatel graduate at Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok.Read more
Recently there has been a series of campus drives at the School of Hospitality Management (SHM), Ansal University and all of them took place back-to-back. The Méridien, Marriott Hotels, ITC, Radisson, Lemon Tree and the DLF (Hospitality Wing).Read more
Every day, Vatel students and instructors prepare for class, study, and fan the flames of their curiosity, thanks to the cutting-edge digital library provided by the ScholarVox platform. Come right this way for digital access to knowledge!Read more
An MBA specializing in ecotourism opens in Madagascar. This island has all it takes to materialize this demanding approach of responsible and innovative tourism.Read more
New ideas, enthusiasm, the desire to embrace a gourmet universe: Jerome Ferrer’s story has all the ingredients that inspire the best “success stories” to strategy professors!Read more
The hospitality and tourism industries are particularly concerned by sustainable development. And what if Vatel alumni played a key part in this transition towards more environmentally friendly hotel management?Read more
Travel broadens the mind, as the old saying goes. It also leads to unconventional restaurants. Let’s meet two Vateliens who founded Le Kaya Restaurant in Tignes.Read more
Besides having a Bachelor or an MBA Vatel, what does being a Vatelien mean?Read more
Throughout their entire careers, Vatel alumni remain in touch with their schools. This is also true for Kevin Tessieux, who has never forgotten that he was also once a student, and who now shares this knowledge with students today.Read more
Chahrazade Baroudi, a Vatelien since 2013, describes her job as Marketing and Communication Manager in IDAM, Alain Ducasse’s restaurant on the top floor of the Doha Museum of Islamic Art, in Qatar.Read more
Future hospitality professionals, welcome to Vatel’s 100% management simulation serious game! For an entire week and on three continents, MBA students met the challenge of managing a 4-star hotel and a resort in the Indian Ocean. The winners are...Read more
Who is Gaelle Garnier, the new manager of the network of 35,000 Vatel alumni throughout the world? Let’s meet a Vatelien who works with Vateliens!Read more
The 25th Eurhodip conference, which Vatel took part in, took place in Croatia. Targeting responsible tourism, this conference allowed participants to have more information on opening higher education courses in the field of sustainable development.Read more
Designed to address the needs of the global hospitality industry, the Marco Polo program strengthens the international profile Vatel students have and has just received the prestigious Best Innovation in an Educational Program Award.Read more
Graduated in 2011, Alexis Bouche began his career in England. Six years later, he returned to France and is now the Sales Manager of the 5-star hotel, Villa Maïa.Read more
Nearly 40 years old, and now 50 campuses in 32 different countries: Vatel Group opened its first school in Paris and is continuing to grow and duplicate its innovative educational concept in schools abroad.Read more
Trained at Vatel Nimes ten years ago, Chloe Wu has a brilliant career in China. She no longer works in the hospitality industry, but has not forgotten her passion of hospitality and service...Read more
The Vatel International Research Center in Hotel and Tourism Managementhas just published the 10th edition of its Journal, which targets research and reflections on changes taking place in the hospitality and tourism industries.Read more
Curiosity, humility, team spirit... A Vatelien shares his commitment to values his school transmitted to him.
The same international spirit that students have Vatel and 4 students in nursing undertake a humanitarian project in Madagascar.Read more
A traveler - salesman - ambassador, Marco Polo introduced Asia, at that time nearly unknown, to Europe. This inspirational fate has given its name to Vatel’s international exchange program, where students can study at another Vatel campus for a year.Read more
The most senior representatives in the international hospitality industry give Vatel the Best School Hospitality Award. An entire profession thus acclaims them.Read more
Learning the skills needed to be a manager, quick employability, international careers... Vatel, the passport that gets you hired. See the video.Read more