Catalin looks at his degree and could not believe he got to this point. No, not because he thought he could not do it, but because it was a long path, a lot of work involved during one year, meeting new great teachers and colleagues, gaining a lot of confidence in his academic background through this Master. Yes, he feels proud.
Catalin Stefan is now an alumnus from the MSc in International Hospitality &Tourism Business Management – offered by American Hotel Academy in Brasov. Also, he is the General Manager of Capital Plaza Hotel in Bucharest where he spends, with dedication, almost all of his time.  .
He learnt that both education and experience are important in order to perform in a management position; , one cannot survive without the other.
In the interview below he addresses new potential students willing to enroll in the programme and adds some of his impressions related to his experiences of the Master’s programme.

Catalin, where did you first hear about us?
Some years ago I found out about American Hotel Academy during a marketing course held in your former headquarters, at Timisu de Sus, near Brasov. Then I saw a Facebook advertisement and applied as I got really interested.

Can you give us a few details about your professional career path?
I started about 20 years ago in the mid 90’s, at the front desk of one of the most famous hotels of Bucharest, at the Hotel Majestic. I went from Reservations to Rooms Division Manager. After the experience gained in reception, I was given the opportunity to change departments, so I arrived at the Sales office where I spent 4 years of my life. After that, I was given the great opportunity to be the manager of a 4 star hotel in the center of Bucharest. Here I had a personal coach that guided me into the world of the hotel manager…After that experience, in 2009, I became the General Manager of Capital Plaza Hotel, and after these 8 years that passed by, I am still here, still managing one of the most successful unaffiliated hotel in Bucharest.

Who is truly inspiring you in your career?
I admire two GMs that influenced my career and of course, the coach that shaped me and transformed me into a manager. I feel the same about the stakeholders of Capital Plaza hotel from whom I learnt many things.

Do you think that experience can substitute the academic background? Can one be  more important- – education or experience?
Until a certain point the experience can substitute the academic background, indeed. But if you want continuous development and if you aspire for a career in any field, you need an academic background. From my point of view both are important, one cannot survive without the other if you want to perform.

catalin2 “I strongly recommend choosing this program… the professionalism of the lecturers and the curricula offered are great points to start a career from.”

What did you like best while you were a Master student at American Hotel Academy?
I liked that I learnt a lot and gained experience as well. I met interesting and inspiring people, both teachers and colleagues and I saw what learning in a serious academic environment means. It were fascinating for me – the international lecturers and the conversations and presentations in English.

What course was the most useful for you?
I personally liked the Marketing, Financial Management and Project Management. Also, I loved the Business Research Methods and I wanted to get more of it.

Have you managed to implement some aspects that you learnt during this Master in the hotel where you work? Which one? Can you give us an example?
Yes, I did. It is about the revenue management techniques and methods that I discovered and applied during my dissertation.

Which was the biggest challenge that this Master offered you?
Preparing the dissertation. There was a short time involved and a large amount of information to assimilate and this meant a big challenge. But I managed it, I got to that level.

If you were to describe in three words the lecturers from the Master offered by American Hotel Academy, which would they be?
Seriousness, professionalism, implication.

What pieces of advice would you give to the ones willing to enrol in the Master of Science in International Hospitality & Tourism Business Management offered by American Hotel Academy?
I strongly recommend choosing this program… the professionalism of the lecturers and the curricula offered are great points to start a career from. In fact this programme may be the start of a great hospitality management career. Also, please be aware that this opportunity needs to be exploited at the maximum level, to attend each course with great commitment and absorb every new thing learnt there. For sure, there will be moments in life and in their career when the thing that seemed to be so less significant, suddenly turns to be useful.

If you were to start again, would you choose American Hotel Academy and this Master? Why?
For sure I would. There are many aspects that made me decide this: great lecturers, weekend schedule that permits you to work during weekdays, the degree offered by Manchester Metropolitan University from Great Britain, their academic partner and not in the end, the tuition fee that is well balanced considering that is an international recognized degree.