Kara Birrell graduated from Bournemouth University to become the General Manager at the Passford House Hotel at the New Forest. Kara says “I studied Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management at Bournemouth University. I am now the General Manager of the Passford House Hotel, a 50 bedroomed Country House Hotel in Lymington. My studies gave me a great grounding to the basics of hotel management. It was great to get hands on experience in both the kitchen and the Thomas Hardy restaurant. The accountancy part of my course still rings true to this day when I’m working with chefs and managers with regards to costings and GP targets. The course was varied and interesting, never boring, just like the industry itself! I very much enjoyed the varied aspect of this course, especially the mix between hands on learning and learning in the class room. I also got a great deal out of my placement in outside catering.
During the course I had too many part time jobs in hotels (3 different ones to be precise!) to pay for my time at Uni to have time for much else. The course gave me great confidence when I stepped into the real world of employment. I was very lucky to have worked with the Roux brothers restaurant manager in the Thomas Hardy restaurant, I found this hands on coaching from a professional in the industry priceless with my first position as Restaurant Manager at the Master Builders House Hotel in Bucklers Hard.
I would suggest to recent graduates to go into a new position at ground level, and work your way up, don’t expect to walk straight into a management position. It is a much easier way to understand the business and the team in place, it is very hard to manage a team of staff if you don’t fully understand their jobs, what is expected of them and what hurdles they face. I also feel you will get a greater respect from your team if you have proved that you are happy to muck in with the team and get your hands dirty when needed.