Case study

Senior business development manager — Sophie Colvin

Sophie completed a Masters in Business Management and Language Studies at the University of Glasgow. Discover how she broke into the competitive hospitality industry

What course did you study and where?

Following my studies at the University of Glasgow, I took a year out and travelled to South America during the summer and spent my winter in the beautiful ski resort of Deer Valley, Utah. There, I got my first experience of working in the hotel industry at the Stein Eriksen Lodge, and instantly fell in love.

I then decided to enroll on a Postgraduate Diploma in International Hospitality Administration at Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, where I graduated with distinction and class valedictorian.

How did you get your job?

After graduating from Les Roches, I worked in hospitality roles at Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and also as a financial controller at Project Arcadia LLC. I then joined STR as a business development executive and worked closely with hotels and owners to provide them with revenue management reports. I have been promoted three times at STR and am now a senior business development manager.

What's a typical day like for you?

I focus my time on working with hotel investors, developers and consultants. I love hearing about all the different types of hotel projects and new concepts my clients are looking into developing and feel privileged to be able to help them on this journey with independent hotel statistics. I also represent STR at industry conferences and networking events by presenting the latest hotel industry trends.

In what way is your degree relevant?

My two degrees have been really relevant to my career. In today's job market employees have to be multi-skilled and have a general understanding of all organisational departments. Even if my role is predominantly business development (sales), I work very closely with our marketing team on new promotion to target clients and with our accounting team to make sure that our clients pay on time. These are both subjects I studied at university but never really thought I would use in my day-to-day life.

How do I get into your line of work?

To work in the hotel benchmarking world you need to love numbers. My advice for any recent graduate would be to focus on what you love and what interests you the most. In any role, you can take on side projects, which will help you grow in your career. For me, these little extra tasks are much more important than my actual role as they allow me to grow and develop skills, which I have no doubt will be extremely valuable in the future.

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