PositionChef de Rang, Mandarin Oriental, Lucerne
SchoolCésar Ritz Colleges
ProgramBachelor's Degree in Hospitality and Management
Birta, from Iceland, completed her double Bachelor's degrees, one in Hospitality and Management from César Ritz Colleges and the Bachelor's degree in Hospitality Business Management from Washington State University, in June 2022 and has now embarked on her career at the Mandarin Oriental in Lucerne.
What did you feel was the biggest benefit of your education when you completed your studies?
The most significant advantage after graduating from César Ritz Colleges was undoubtedly the countless job opportunities and the chance to collaborate with some incredibly talented and successful figures in the industry.
After graduation, I realized that the degrees I earned opened many doors, surpassing my expectations. I had access not only to work with renowned hotel groups but also in various fields outside of the hospitality industry, where hospitality plays a crucial role. Exploring the options allowed me to find what I love and dream of doing. Additionally, the people I met at school will always be a part of my amazing journey, and I am genuinely grateful for the network I have built with them.
Was it hard to find a job after graduation?
The feeling is mixed because I had numerous offers and opportunities both in Europe and on other continents. However, I was specifically looking for a work experience in Switzerland to strengthen my skills before taking the next step.
Working in Switzerland requires proficiency in either German or French, and since I do not speak either fluently, my options were limited. Nevertheless, I eventually found the right place and position at an international hotel group that was flexible with languages. You might wonder why I chose to stay in Switzerland instead of returning home and finding a job there. The reason is that I always wanted to explore more of Europe and its opportunities and potentially settle down in Europe. Accepting a job in Iceland now would have made it challenging for me to return to work on the continent later. That's why I made a concerted effort to work in mainland Europe, where I ultimately wanted to be.
What are the best memories you have from your time at CRCS?
I have countless wonderful memories with the people I met at school, as well as with the locations where the campuses were situated: Le Bouveret campus near the lakeshore, and the Brig campus where I truly felt ready to step into the real world. These memories remain vivid in my mind, representing an essential stage of my life where I enjoyed independence and carefree moments while taking on increasing responsibilities as I approached the real world. However, my most cherished memories are related to my first year/Summer in Le Bouveret, where I spent unforgettable quality time with my friends under the sun, swimming, and playing cards near the lakeshore. Lasting friendships were formed during that summer, and I wouldn't exchange that joyful period for anything.
What is your job position now, and do you have any plans for the future?
Since graduation I have continued working at Mandarin Oriental Palace in Lucerne, a beautiful establishment located on the shore of Lake Lucerne.
I currently hold the position of Chef de Rang (head waiter) at two of the hotel's four main restaurants. These two restaurants offer different cuisines, and as Chef de Rang, I am responsible for the smooth operation by attending to guest needs, adhering to the standards required by a five-star property, presenting wines, and serving dishes while respecting the service sequences. Additionally, I maintain friendly relationships with my co-workers. Recently, I have taken on the role of a departmental trainer, responsible for training new people both remotely and in person. I train and teach the new employees about At this time, I am content with my work at Mandarin Oriental, but I have some projects planned. For now, I want to continue growing professionally within the Mandarin Oriental Group, exploring potential future establishments I might be interested in working at. I have also considered eventually working back home, we will see.
I might not be the first person who tells you this, but I do believe that you need to challenge yourself by actively doing what scares and intimidates you. The reason is simple: without the challenges, you will not grow, develop, and find yourself in this ever-changing and unpredictable industry. You must be ready to constantly challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone to flourish. Sometimes what scares you the most can also be so much fun!