What’s It Like to Be an Elevator?
This year, we’re celebrating 20 years since the first ever intake on the Elevator graduate program in Europe, Middle East and Africa. A scheme designed to fast-track globally mobile graduates to a General Manager position within 5-8 years of completion, this scheme provides the ideal launch pad for anyone looking to start a career in hospitality management.
Over the years, around 200 graduates have participated in the program. Here, four of them tell us about their journeys and their advice to future candidates.
Richard Finn, Elevator Class of 1998 (General Manager, Hilton Cambridge)
I joined the very first intake of the Elevator program in September 1998. I was brought up abroad and studied hotel management at university, so working in the hospitality industry was a natural path for me.
I completed my nine-month placements at Hilton Manchester Airport and Hilton Dresden. Twenty years later, I’ve worked in 10 hotels in three countries, taking on 11 different roles.
For me personally, working in hospitality is all about the people. There is a satisfaction at the end of every day, knowing that you have created an experience for our guests, and also for our team.
I would recommend Elevator to any young person wanting to get into the hospitality industry. It’s an amazing opportunity to travel, develop and be trained with one of the best hotel companies in the world.
The one thing I learned during my time on the program was question, question, question! There’s no such thing as a silly question. You’re there to find out everything there is to know about every discipline and every function, so make the most of it!
Jessica Kelly, Elevator Class of 2013 (Director of Operations, Hilton London Canary Wharf)
I graduated from Manchester University with a degree in French and Spanish, and when I applied for Elevator, I had no experience in hospitality. During the process, I highlighted my love for interacting with people, and my natural eagerness to learn.
The scheme allowed me to understand how a hotel works in a very short space of time. The accelerated learning was intense, but it meant I had a lot of exposure to different departments. Looking back, I can clearly see my career progression.
My advice for a career in hospitality? You need to be hungry but humble –push yourself to be developed and expose yourself to new challenges.
I would urge everyone to think about a career in hospitality – even if it hasn’t occurred to you before. Programs like Elevator will give you the right support and guidance for your career to take off. If you love to travel, want to live abroad and develop management skills in an ever-changing, fast-paced and fun environment - then check it out!
Stella Zinn, Elevator Class of 2015 (Food & Beverage Manager, Hilton Prague)
For me, my career all fell into place when I moved to New Zealand when I was 15. I quickly learned to love life as an expat, throwing myself into social situations and meeting new people. After that, I knew I wanted a job where I could combine my enjoyment of travel with my passion for people.
I went on to study at Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland, which was a fantastic springboard into a career in hospitality.
Hilton’s Elevator program stood out amongst all the other companies as the only program that focused on the long-term goal: offering a fast-track path to a General Manager position. It essentially offered the most amount of exposure in the shortest amount of time. No other development program offers you the chance to work in all the key departments in a hotel.
I would recommend Elevator to any enthusiastic graduate who enjoys travelling and working with people. It’s challenging, but it more than pays off. There is a great support network; every Elevator is assigned a Mentor and a Buddy to answer questions and offer advice. You create a great network of friends and connections across all departments.
For me it’s not over yet, I’m sticking to my goal – I want to become a General Manager by the time I’m 30! It’s ambitious but achievable, and Elevator definitely laid the groundwork.
So if you love travel, definitely check it out. I could never imagine working in another industry. I’m in Prague today, but where will I be in the new few years? Who knows – the opportunities are endless!
Kris Jefferson, Elevator Class of 2018 (Hilton Warsaw)
I started Elevator earlier this year and I’m currently on my first placement at Hilton Warsaw. I joined the scheme from a Material Sciences and Engineering degree, so my advice to anyone thinking about applying would be: don’t be put off if you don’t think your degree is directly applicable to the industry – you can still apply!
The hospitality sector is applicable to any skillset, regardless of your degree, because a lot of emphasis is put on your skills and attitude. I think businesses are also looking for uniqueness in the people they recruit, so throughout the application process, I tried to demonstrate that I have the right attributes to succeed, and that I could bring something different to the table.
Right from the start of the program, you will be thrown into the deep end! While this is certainly challenging, it helps you to learn and develop quickly. My first department was with Conferencing and Banqueting. I didn’t have any experience in this area, but within 4-5 weeks, I was already planning and running my first event for roughly 200 people, with the support of the rest of the team. This included having direct contact with the organiser, preparing and refreshing conference rooms and arranging everything for the meals and breaks throughout the event.
My advice to anyone considering applying to this program would be to believe in yourself. If you believe you have the skills and the ambition to succeed, then go for it. If you’re about to start the process, you need to learn about the brand, and look at yourself. Look at your skills to explore what you think will make you unique going through the process.
To find out more about Elevator or apply to join the scheme, visit https://jobs.hilton.com/universities/europe.php
Media Contact: Rosie Morris +44 (0)20 7856 8114 Rosie.Morris@Hilton.comView More News