Real Students, Real Hotels – an industry experience by Jake Whitney

Student: Michaela Loong

Nationality: Fijian

Placement: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins

Michaela, a BMIHMS at Torrens University student with a strong passion for people and guest satisfaction. Michaela is loving every minute of the rain, hail and shine of studying hospitality and her first placement experience has been no exception.

BMIHMS Marketing Ambassador Jake Whitney, took a tour of Michaela’s luxurious work place – Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. This property is with a well-known brand, in a prime location. Sofitel is known for the kind of service where everything is topped with cherries and more.

Here’s what she had to say;

A little about culture.

I’m from Fiji, which has a small population and tourism is one of our major economic sectors. We’re an island paradise with major untapped potential, something I hope I can delve into in the future. The Fiji communities are known for our Bula Spirit, or our spirit of friendliness, and this has instilled in me a natural sense of Hospitality, which I will carry with me for life.

Lifetime lessons.

I have learn a lot about time management and personal grooming. They are definitely the big ones! Probably the one thing that sticks with me best is something my Food & Beverage Lecturer, taught us on our first day of class. He said in hospitality “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late, and if you’re late…you’re fired!”. Its served me well so far! I arrive 15 minutes early for everything and it’s a great habit. 


I would love to continue working with ACCOR Hotels, and ideally staying within their luxury brands with either marketing or human resources in my sights.  Whilst this placement is based in food and beverage I’ve been lucky enough to intern in the sales and marketing department. This has definitely ignited an new interest.

While I am studying, I hope to gain experience in as many areas as possible as I think this is beneficial to my end goal of general manager. That being said, I am also certain that as I gain this experience, my main goals could.

Something about Melbourne.

Melbourne is often cited as being one of the world’s most livable cities and it’s not hard to see why! Between the theaters, galleries, beaches, alleyways and numerous bars and café’s, there’s always something to do.

Working at Sofitel has aided in my exploration of the city, as the hotel’s affiliation with the arts meant I often get discounted tickets to various shows. Being here over the summer months also meant that I have explored much of the gorgeous scenery that surrounds Melbourne. One of the highlights in this regard was the opportunity to travel down the Great Ocean Road, one of the most scenic routes in Australia.

What do you like about this hotel.

The environment at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins is definitely one that promotes learning. My managers have helped me to work towards my personal goals that I had set prior to commencing. Everyone in the hotel has been lovely and supportive, it really is a wonderful close knit team for such a large scale hotel!

Working in hospitality always has its perks, for Michaela, its working on the 35th floor, which has a near 360-degree view of the city of Melbourne. Where the sun rises and sets I see it all.

Advice for others

Be passionate in what you do. Love what you do. BMIHMS at Torrens University is a place where you can thrive and grow. There is no limit to what you can learn here if you are willing to put in that extra mile and show up with a good attitude. The lecturers are amazing and are always more than willing to go above and beyond.

Thanks Michaela!

Join me next time,


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