Charissa Chan - BSc (Hons) International Hospitality Management graduate

Current employer: Shangri-La International Hotel Management Limited

Current job title: Assistant Vice President, Human Resources

Current location: Hong Kong

“Within eight years I progressed from an HR assistant to an area director of HR and training.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.

I joined Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong, as a human resources assistant after graduating. This is a hotel where I completed two summer internships prior to securing a permanent position. I was fortunate enough to be able to start my career with such a prestigious hotel in Hong Kong, which is also a flagship hotel within the Shangri-La Group of hotels. Within eight years I progressed from an HR assistant to an area director of HR and training. In my current role, I am the Human Resources Business Partner (HRBP) to divisions in the headquarter. I act as a sales person of HR, i.e. to represent HR in front of internal clients, work with them, sell solutions of HR and bring requirements back.

Has your career path changed since graduation?

My focus has always been on human resources in the hotel industry in Hong Kong, specifically in talent development. In my current role, I have been able to broaden my experience by managing the talent pools in Asia Pacific (Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Maldives, Australia, Mainland China and Hong Kong).

What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?

The most exciting thing I have done so far is building a new brand from scratch. There were, of course, sleepless nights, but with the passion and enthusiasm to make it happen and be successful, the experience was rewarding and one which I will never forget.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?

Firstly, take placements before you enter the industry so that you have a taste of how hotels work before you commit to it. Secondly, do not be afraid to fail, and learn from your own mistakes. Thirdly, work relentlessly to achieve your goals.

How did studying at Plymouth help you?

The course during my time at Plymouth had a combination of theory, classroom-based learning, as well as practical sessions where we rolled up our sleeves and cooked some dishes. The experience made it easier for me to adapt fairly quickly when I started my first job.

Do you stay in touch with other Plymouth University alumni or lecturers?

Yes! I stay in touch with my classmates and also certain lecturers, especially one who comes to Hong Kong every year to lecture. Plymouth University has collaborated with local institutions to provide excellent degree courses.

International Hospitality Management