IFT is one of the most prolific higher education institutions in the field of tourism and hospitality in the Asia-Pacific region. Many Macao companies recognise the quality of the Institute’s alumni and several seek them out for special programmes that nurture the industry’s future leaders.
One alumnus chosen for such a programme was Mr. Carlos de Sousa. Mr. de Sousa is Director of Customer Services at The Parisian Macao, an integrated resort run by Sands China Ltd. Last year he was one of 2 IFT alumni chosen to take the first Sands China International Strategic Leadership Programme for Integrated Resorts.
The programme was aimed at developing future leaders in integrated resort management. It included 25 participants and was designed specially for management-level staff.
In the 5 months ended last November, trainees attended leadership development classes at 3 prestigious universities on 3 continents. Those institutions were the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics in Lisbon, in Portugal; the Cornell School of Hotel Administration in Ithaca, New York, in the United States; and the University of Saint Joseph, in Macao.
“This programme was not only about helping our professional development on a personal basis. It was also about how can we pass on the knowledge we’ve learnt to our colleagues,” Mr. de Sousa says. “This was, additionally, an opportunity for me to become familiar with the functions of other departments in the firm, and to build up connections with colleagues in different departments.”
Mr. de Sousa graduated from IFT in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science in Tourism Business Management. He began his career in the hospitality industry as a front-office agent at the Westin Resort on Coloane, which is now the Grand Coloane Resort.
He rose to become the front office manager of the resort in 2006. Two years later, he went to work for the Four Seasons Hotel Macao and in 2010 moved to the Banyan Tree Macau resort. “I joined Sands China in 2016 as a member of the pre-opening team for The Parisian Macao,” he says.
Drawing on his comprehensive industry experience, Mr. de Sousa advises new graduates of IFT to start their careers in hospitality in a rank-and-file position and climb the career ladder.
“If you do not have any experience on the baseline, you will never understand the workstream flow from bottom to top, which can lead to problems,” he says. “The truth is, if you previously were a rank-and-file worker, you can better understand their needs and the difficulties these workers face.”
New IFT graduates should also be aware that working in hospitality and tourism means being a team player. “No matter how outstanding your performance is, you always need to work as a team in the hospitality industry,” Mr. de Sousa says. This means that team spirit and the ability to work with different individuals are vital.
His formula for advancement in the industry includes enthusiasm for the work you do. “For those who want to succeed, you must be passionate. If I did not like this industry, I don’t think that I would have been able to work in the frontline sector for all these years,” he says.