A typical Leo makes for a good organiser and is sure to become a leader. His best characteristic perhaps is his hospitality – he’s fond of welcoming people and entertaining them. Meet Saurabh Khanna, 28, the perfect lion who’s lived up to his sign by making hospitality his career.
Khanna studied from St Joseph's College in Nanital and did his 10+2 from DAV School in Delhi. A bright student, he took up science without medical at school. “It seems I was destined to take up hospitality. Though I always wanted to become a pilot, it so happened that the interview for both hospitality and aviation were on the same day. And, the letter for the aviation interview had not arrived, leaving me with no option but to go for the hospitality interview,” he says.
Khanna did his diploma in hotel management from the Institute of Hotel Management in Mumbai and simultaneously pursued his BCom through correspondence from Delhi University. He joined the Park hotel in 2002 as a trainee and was confirmed as an Assistant Manager with the F&B service after one-and-a-half year of training. His job involved handling the restaurant operations, meeting guests and revenue targets.
Ever since he's moved over to the training department and is currently handling the division besides operations at the hotel's spa. As an Associate Director, training, his work involves induction and orientation of the new joinees, retraining of existing employees and looking into both quality and service standards across all functions.
While on the job, he was also sent to Cornell University, US, for a one-week professional development programme. “Growth in the hospitality sector is very fast and one gets several opportunities to grow and develop. For those not keen on working for long hours and night shifts, they have the option of getting into training, HR, or sales and marketing divisions,” he says.
His advice to students wanting to take up a career in hospitality is, “While choosing the institute, one should keep in mind the job opportunities one can get after passing out of the institute.”
Besides, with the Commonwealth Games 2010 around the corner, the sector is indeed looking up. “The industry is bound to grow as more and more hotels are added every year. If you have the will and the aptitude to work hard and rise, join the field. It's an extremely exciting and challenging job,” adds Brig (Retd) Manoranjan singh, Principal, Welcomgroup Management Institute, Gurgaon.