Where are they now? An interview with alumnus Christophe Hobeika '12

Where does the Global MBA - Hospitality Management major take you?

We followed up with a graduate to see where he was after finishing his MBA. 

Christophe Hobeika,  class of 2012, shares his experience: 

1) What drew you to work in the hospitality industry and choose the ESSEC Global MBA?  
Since I was a kid, I have always been attracted to food and restaurants.  I wanted to become a Chef and, with time, discovered that hotels were where I pictured myself quite well. I then decided to pursue my studies in hospitality and work at the same time in an apprenticeship. After my BTS (French undergraduate degree) I wanted more: more educational challenges, greater depth, and a degree with a great reputation. That's why I picked the ESSEC Global MBA. Or it picked me, I don't really know. :)

2) Please describe your career path after the Global MBA ?

Before the Global MBA, I was pursuing hospitality studies with an apprenticeship scheme. I first worked in Operations for 2 years (front office) in independent Parisian hotels and 1 year in Sales and Marketing, followed by 3 months at the InterContinental London Park Lane. Following this experience, I joined the program.

After my MBA, I went straight back to the UAE, where I had previously completed a 6-month internship at the InterContinental Abu Dhabi during the MBA. I loved my time there and was eager to get a position in one of Dubai's top performing hotels. I landed at Madinat Jumeirah, the Arabian Resort of Dubai, part of the Jumeirah Group, which represents close to 50% of the entire UAE portfolio (9 hotels). I took a step down in order to get in and started as Marketing Communications Executive. After 6 months in the job, we started talking about the next step. One year later, I was promoted to Resort Assistant Marketing Manager and I am now in charge of the entire digital strategy of the resort, as well as marketing campaigns for the resort’s entertainment/lifestyle side (Madinat Theatre, Madinat Amphitheatre, Talise Fitness, Sinbad's Kids Club and our private beach).

3) Was there anything in particular about this MBA that helped you prepare for your career path or qualify you for your current position?

Given the rapid evolution taking place in the hospitality industry, some of the specific information you studied at ESSEC may have changed only two years later...  But the way the professors make you think and challenge you will stay with you for life.  This is what I value about my experience. I am now able to take very quick business decisions because things just make sense to me. I always justify everything I say, which is highly appreciated in the business environment and supports whatever actions you take.

4) What advice would you give to current students who are preparing to enter the job market, or who are undertaking their internship?

It's extremely easy when you study in the Global MBA to forget that you are still young and have yet to prove yourself in a very competitive market. It's great to believe in yourself, but you have to give yourself some time to grow. Look for a strategic position for your internship, something that will prepare you to grow quickly once you join a new company. It's okay to step down in order to move up. Patience is key.

5) What is your favorite memory from the program?

The people you meet, be they students, professors or industry leaders, are a great opportunity. The ESSEC Global MBA is a multicultural program and the people there are just amazing; I’m glad to call many of them my friends.


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