What does your role involve?

Our brand is our team, so my primary focus is people by way of group-wide recruitment, on-going development, and the way we deliver guest service.

How have you progressed within the industry?

I began on reception at a Holiday Inn whilst studying, and later joined the Old Course Hotel in guest relations upon graduating, before initially joining Dakota in the role of training executive.

How have your courses at QMU helped you in your role with Dakota?

In particular, I feel returning to study my MBA whilst working in industry really heightened all of my theoretical learning. I also benefit greatly from being given the autonomy to challenge the way we do things and explore ways to improve our operation.

How have you remained involved with QMU?

I speak with the undergraduate hospitality students on an annual basis to offer internships at Dakota during their industry placement. We also currently have two QMU graduates on our Graduate Development Program, and three members of our team studying Hospitality at QMU, which helps to strengthen the relationship Dakota has with QMU.

"I feel returning to study my MBA whilst working in industry really heightened all of my theoretical learning. I also benefit greatly from being given the autonomy to challenge the way we do things and explore ways to improve our operation."
Samantha Hamilton

What do you love about your job?

I love being part of a team which shares similar values; we are all here to be a part of something special. I genuinely enjoy myself each day and I feel I work with friends, which in turn provides an invaluable support system.

What are some of your biggest challenges?

After being introduced to our Chairman, Ken McCulloch, there was a learning curve of how to effectively deal with his unique larger-than-life character and interpret this into effective business management. Particularly, when I first attained a managerial position, my ability to prioritise was also something I struggled with.

What do you consider to be your most important achievements?

I have spent the last two years of my career being especially focused on recruitment and talent development. During this time, there have been many individuals for whom I feel a great sense of pride for having played a role in their success story within the company.

What have been some of your funniest or most memorable moments working in the hospitality and tourism industry?

My first role in tourism was during a summer internship with Walt Disney World in Florida, which was arranged as part of my undergraduate course at QMU. Those three to four months were the best of my life; a lot of work, but exceptionally fruitful.

Do you feel the industry offers opportunity for graduates? 

I grew up knowing my career would be in hotels. So, to be in senior management for a brand with such personality - so aligned with who I am, and with great plans for future growth -  highlights the fact that there are so many opportunities for graduates within our industry, as long as they find an organisation which is the right fit for them, are driven, and radiate enthusiasm for what we do.

MBA Hospitality

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