Alumni Interview - Ernest Kurish

15 May 2020

Since completing his Postgraduate Diploma with us, Ernest has progressed his career in China and is currently an F&B Manager at Kempinski Hotels...

IMI: Hi Ernest - hope you are well! So far, the majority of your career has been spent in Food and Beverage. Has your passion has always been in this field or did this develop as your career progressed?

EK: I did recognise an eagerness to learn and discover more about the F&B industry from my early student years in Ukraine. My passion for F&B just became stronger and stronger each year especially as I broadened my travel experiences.

IMI: New employees are often recommended to start their hospitality careers in the F&B sector - what do you feel are the benefits of starting within this department

EK: F&B offers a true experience of dealing with people so gives you the chance to improve your communication skills and observe people's habits and  behaviours from the operation side. F&B teaches you to be proactive, flexible, straightforward and patient. Moreover, it stimulates your dedication and hospitality attitude. I do believe that if you can cope within F&B then you can handle any profession within the hospitality industry.

IMI: How would you say F&B Managers differ from other managers within the hospitality industry?

EK: I would say that as an F&B Manager, your role has a big impact on your personality and way of living. Due to the specific nature of the working environment, the operational pressures and working hours, your approach and mind set have to alter and become more flexible while at the same time always focusing on overall productivity.  All department managers have their own unique pressures but this is what I have observed within F&B. 

IMI: In your opinion, what are the key skills required to be an exceptional F&B manager?

EK: Exceptional F&B Managers are productive and efficient with strong short and long-term planning skills. Creativity, leadership, flexibility and a great sense of humor are all essential!  

IMI: Having worked in the hospitality industry in both Asia and Europe, what are the main differences in working culture and approachs to customer service?

EK: Working cultures and customer service varies significantly from country to country. Mostly due to different historical traditions of hospitality and service culture. In my experience, the main difference is one of mentality when it comes to anticipating and attitude.     

IMI: F&B is your profession, but do you also have a strong interest in this field outside of work? If so, how does this benefit your professional performance?

EK: F&B is part of my life. I do like to discover new trends, learn new recipes, taste and implement new ideas in my operation. I also love to travel and observe what people are eating, cooking and drinking and how others work within F&B in different cultures. I believe it's key to share my experiences with my team and listen to others as well. F&B is such a fundemental part of all our daily lives - it’s a competitive environment and there is endless learning and discovery to be done.  

IMI: Can you share your happiest or funniest memory from your time at IMI with us?

EK: There were so many! As we were living out of the IMI campus, it was always a lot of fun running for the bus to get in on time and avoid the late punishment. What is definitely in my heart from my time at IMI is the people! It is a special environment with great tutors, mentors and role models! I hope to come back one day to complete my Master's degree!

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