I didn’t Choose Hospitality. Hospitality Chose Me.


A chat about studies and internships with Albin, an SHMS Student from Sweden

Hi Albin! What excites you about hospitality?

There’s no other career that would enable you to meet so many people from all over the world with different backgrounds and cultures, whether it was a private person, celebrity, or even royalty. It is also something that just feels rewarding to me, being in a position to shape my guests’ experiences into something memorable and unique.

Why do you think a career in hospitality is a good match for you?

I love people and being of service to others. I believe I have an eye for details and noticing what others need or want. The hospitality business feels like a natural fit.

Were you interested in this field when you were a kid?

I was 13 years old when I started working as a waiter and have since been in the business in one form or another. However, when I graduated high school, I decided to try myself in finance and have a “real job”. But after five years and three different managerial positions, I ultimately understood it wasn’t for me. I realized that hospitality is where my heart truly belongs.

Our campus at Caux Palace

What made you want to study at SHMS?

Compared to other hospitality schools, especially Sweden’s, I believe SHMS stands out. It is rather formal and very professional – we address our teachers as Mr. or Mrs., wear uniforms, and are always required to look the part, just like one would at a high-end hospitality facility.

On a side note, we get to live and study in a mountain palace – how unique is that?

That is unique indeed! At SHMS, internships are an essential part of one’s education. Where have you chosen to do your first internship?

I’m currently interning at the 5-star Penha Longa Ritz-Carlton Resort in Portugal as a front office agent/concierge.

What help did SHMS offer you in pursuing your internship? 

The school has been an absolute asset in helping me develop the ideal resume, especially with setting up fruitful networking events. But it’s ultimately up to each individual to develop their own path to a successful career, build a network, and land an internship that fits their goals.

Why did you choose to intern at Penha Longa Ritz-Carlton in Portugal?

As I’ve said, I´ve got a lot of experience in hospitality – from serving in restaurants and mixing cocktails in bars to working on large high-end banquets and in-room service. Recently, however, I tried myself in a different field, working as a call centre team lead, sales manager and front desk manager/CEO assistant. But it never felt right to me.

Therefore, as my first step back into the hospitality business, I wanted to start strong and get experience at a high-end five-star facility, and I couldn’t think of a better place than Ritz-Carlton for that purpose. Their motto, “We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” perfectly reflects my philosophy of hospitality, so I was excited to get the opportunity to learn from them.

And how is it going so far?

I have received an offer to stay and work as a Front Office Supervisor at Penha Longa Ritz-Carlton instead of going back to school three times already, actually. So I think it’s going pretty great! And although I wish to finish my studies, I was informed that I would be welcome back anytime – that is why networking and internships matter for a career!

What are the perks of doing an internship at the Ritz-Carlton and in Portugal? 

A significant benefit of interning at the Ritz-Carlton has been having a talented managing team who guides us, the interns, throughout the internship period, and educates us on how to fulfil the brand standards. Here, I feel empowered to be the best version of myself, so it only goes to show what a great company culture they’ve been able to create throughout years of operating, which, I believe, is an important factor to consider when applying for jobs at any company.

On another note, living in Portugal is also pretty great – it’s warm, and the beach provides great surfing conditions, which I take advantage of as much as possible!

The Front Office team, together with the Guest Relations department.

Why do you think SHMS places so much importance on internships?

At school, everything is, of course, academic; we learn about how hotels operate and read study cases on major brands in the business. But I would say that the real understanding of the business only comes when you get the opportunity to put your academic knowledge to practice. That’s why I highly appreciate SHMS for allowing us the opportunity of 2 whole semesters of internship during our degree program.

The theatre in Caux Palace where major ceremonies with guest speakers are held.

Where do you see your industry going? 

After two tough years of travel restrictions, the hospitality industry is now receiving a superabundance of guests excited to finally get their long-dreamed-for vacation. At Penha Longa, for example, they have never before had so many weddings in one summer! I think it is a great sign for the industry and one that also indicates just how big of a role travelling and recreation play in people’s lives.

What hospitality trends do you think we will see in the future?

People are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the relevant issues of the world concerning the climate and overconsumption; hence, they are increasingly looking for more sustainable ways to travel and vacation. This is not something that I’ve only learned at school – I’ve also learned that while working at Pengha Longa and communicating with the guests themselves. Sustainable brands, I think, will be the next thing for hotels.

What kind of impact would you hope to make in your field in the future?

I have a dream to open a sustainable luxury hotel in the future. I believe we have to take care of our planet, and, as I mentioned before, there is an increasing demand for it. I can envision my hotel using solar power and electric cars as well as following various other practices – everything from emailing the invoices instead of printing them to recycling – all to minimize the climate footprint as much as possible.

Of course, there’s much to learn until then, and this is precisely why I chose an education at SHMS – to expose myself to knowledgeable teachers and like-minded, passionate students to collaborate and one day bring innovative ideas to life.

Thank you, Albin, for an inspiring conversation! I hope the next time we meet is at your brand new sustainable hotel. Best of luck to you!