We sat down with BMIHMS lecturer, Juliet Tan, to discuss how an innovative new course she helped develop is generating tangible student success stories.
“I’ve been teaching the Business Management and Entrepreneurship course for around three years now. I have a research background in the areas of service innovation and entrepreneurship, so it was a natural progression for me to bring this to life at BMIHMS. Some of my own research has gone into the course content, so it’s wonderful to see how well received it has been amongst the student population.
“For the course, students are challenged to come up with an innovative new idea, which will improve a specific business in some way. Last year, we presented them with a specific business problem on behalf of VIBE Hotels. The dilemma was that 60% of the time, their conference rooms remained empty or unused, and they were therefore asked to come up with a solution to the problem.
“One of our groups actually developed an app which effectively ensured that the conference room space would be sold off within a 30 day period,” Ms Tan said.
As one of the two top ideas in the class, this group was then invited to pitch their idea directly to senior TFE Hotel Group staff, including Matt Nixon, Managing Director of Innovation; Emma Fraser, National Director of Marketing; and Ben Lacken, Learning & Development Manager.
“After the group presented their idea, the staff members were absolutely blown away by it. As a direct result of this project, the group leader, Erika Shen, was offered a graduate role within the company, and she is still employed with them today.
“I think the success of our students is really a reflection of the fact that we are developing subjects that provide them with real skills, resulting in work ready graduates.
“In the second week of this subject, we are already expecting students to start formulating ideas. By week five, they need to present their initial ideas, at which point we will give them detailed feedback and guidance. After this, they are required to develop a full business plan, before finally reaching the presentation stage at the end of the term.
“The intention is to get them to think creatively; to come up with realistic, practical products or services that are implementable. In addition, equipping them with these skills so early makes them more employable when they reach the end of their degrees,” Ms Tan said.
Michelle Bevan, Director of Human Resources for TFE Hotels, said of the partnership:
“TFE Hotels has a longstanding relationship with BMIHMS. Many of our team members have attended the School as hotel management students, and we’re particularly invested in helping to nurture the next generation of hoteliers.
“We thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to mentor and prepare them for successful careers in the hospitality industry. Whenever we work with BMIHMS, we know that we are working with some of the best and brightest hospitality management students in the country.
“Courses like this one truly give students invaluable personal and professional experience. We’re pleased that it has been such a success and we look forward to working with BMIHMS on many more innovative projects in the future.”
Juliet is an experienced business planning, marketing and international business lecturer at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She has also held senior executive positions in industry for 15 years and currently runs a marketing and training services consultancy.
Past and present sessional lecturing and tutoring contracts include University NSW, University of Technology Sydney, Macquarie University (via ICMS), Southern Cross University, Think: Education Group, Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School and Macleay College. Corporate training contracts included ATEC (Australian Tourism Export Council) and Natbuild (National Association for the building industry).
Her past professional positions include senior executive positions as Director of Sales in 5 star hotel and leisure groups. Past roles have included those at the Marriott International Group, ACCOR Hotel Group, Warner Village Theme Parks and Tourism NSW. Juliet has also been operating her own business called Tourism Sales Solutions since 1998 specializing in sales and marketing consultancy.