Have you ever considered accepting a job working for two employers simultaneously?
Wearing two hats in one place is an exciting challenge with a steep learning curve that requires flexibility, adaptability and strong organisational skills. Managing two different roles is an enriching experience that allows to develop, improve, and combine different sets of skills. Taking on several responsibilities is an opportunity to expand one’s horizon, both personally and professionally.
This is the day to day life of our student interning in San Francisco. Discover his story.
Could you introduce yourself?
I’m Jeffrey Pennaforte, 24 years old and half Italian, half Swiss. I grew up in Switzerland in a tiny village in the middle of the Swiss Alps. Growing up, it was always clear for me, that after graduating from high school, I want to travel the world and live in big cities. I always knew I want to pursue a career in hospitality. After working in different restaurants as a Chef de Rang for 2 years, I decided to join EHL.
In my free time I like to go out for dinner with friends and discover new restaurants and bars. (I’m one of those foodies who take pictures of every dish and post it on Instagram). Whenever I have a bit more time, I travel.
Why did you choose EHL?
As mentioned above, growing up on the countryside, always made me want to discover the world. As I want to pursue a career in hospitality, EHL quickly became my first choice. The extremely international student body and its worldwide reputation as the best hotel management school, were the main reasons. Also the structure of the program, having academic management courses and several opportunities to gain hands-on experience, appealed to me.
You’re currently conducting your internship at swissnex San Francisco and for EHL Admissions. How is it to work for two different companies at the same time?
Swissnex is a science consulate and annex of the Consulate General of Switzerland. It mainly aims to connect the dots between Switzerland and other countries in science, art, education and innovation.
For swissnex I am a Junior Project and Operations Manager. My tasks vary a lot and every day is different. Working in such a dynamic environment like the Silicon Valley can be full of surprises! I mainly help the Events Coordinator to organize events. Further, I am in charge to implement a new inventory management system for all the F&B, events and office supplies. Also, I had to come up with new emergency procedures and bring ideas on how to improve the welcoming experience of our guests and visitors.
For EHL, I’m a Regional Admissions Assistant, where I do recruitment trips within the US, during which I visit high schools and attend college fairs, and assist the regional Admissions Officers in their recruitment activities.
Working for two employers at the same time can be challenging at times. Though, it makes my internship also extremely interesting and varied. It’s a great experience and refines my organizational and multi-tasking skills.
In what way does EHL help you to be successful in your current internship?
The various group projects prepared me well to efficiently work and communicate with others. Those projects also taught me how to organize projects in a way to get them done in the most productive manner. Also, being in such an international environment like EHL, made it easy to work in an equally international environment like swissnex and to travel the US for the various recruitment trips.
Not to forget, the EHL Career Fair and EHL job platform helped me finding this internship.
Did this internship help you to find out what kind of career path you would like to pursue after your graduation at EHL?
Having worked in restaurants and hotels for over 3 years in total, I wanted to work in another industry for my second internship. Even though I enjoy the time here in San Francisco very much, I miss the guest interaction more than expected. It’s just so satisfying to see the sparkles in your guests' eyes when you offer them a good service. This immediate feedback is what I miss a lot. Also, this internship made it clear to me that I’m not made for sitting at the desk for 8 hours a day. I think, I will want to work in operations management for a hotel after graduation. Ultimately, my dream would be to have my own boutique hotel, where I have the freedom to create my own idea of a great guest experience and where I have enough opportunities to directly interact with guests.
What was the most memorable experience during your internship in San Francisco?
Definitely all the recruitment trips! Especially my one-week trip to Miami was amazing. For the first 2 days I was part of a recruitment tour with other international universities, where we attended two college fairs and spent a great time together in our free time. I did a few school visits the days after and attended two other fairs on the weekend. As part of those fairs, I was invited to a reception cocktail and a dinner cruise in the Miami Bay, which was an amazing experience!
Any recommendations for potential future students?
As an Admissions Assistant, I obviously have a lot of recommendations for future students. But the most important are, being open-minded and curious. Be active in the student life at your high school, by being part of student clubs and committees. Also, show your passion for the hospitality industry. It helps a lot if you have a little work experience, whether it be a summer internship or a weekend job.