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From the Chalkboard to the Front Line™ - Shining a Light On Vienna - By Kathleen Hogan, MBA

publication date: Apr 6, 2011
author/source: Kathleen Hogan, MBA

From the Chalkboard to the Front LineTM - Shining a Light On Vienna - By Kathleen Hogan, MBA

HTrends There are innumerable internship programs for students in hospitality found around the world. Discovering the similarities and differences in the many approaches taken by various colleges and universities may raise the bar for programs everywhere.

This hospitality conversation spotlights the internship programs offered by MODUL Career in Vienna.  Hani El Sharkawi, who is the Head of MODUL Career, explains the structure of the program and how it operates. 

Hani El Sharkawi

MODUL Career is exclusively available for students and alumni of MODUL University Vienna and the Tourism College MODUL of the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  Its aim is to assist students with finding an internship as well as to support them in career planning and development.  MODUL Career is also a networking platform for alumni of both institutions.

How do you develop international assignments?

MODUL Career has a large number of national and international partners in the tourism and hospitality industry.  Currently, 165 partners are registered on the MODUL Career internet platform and can post internships, full time jobs and student part time jobs on the career portal at no charge. MODUL Career's partners are very diverse.  They range from large international hotel groups such as Kempinski to luxury tour operators such as Abercrombie & Kent, 5-star carriers such as Emirates Airline to smaller online travel guides and boutique event companies worldwide.

International assignments are mainly gained through networking with industry contacts, industry associations, alumni networks, and participation in a number of international tourism fairs such as the ITB in Berlin.

As of early 2011, the MODUL Alumni network consists of over 6,000 graduates of the Tourism College MODUL and MODUL University who currently occupy leading positions all over the world.

With regard to your hospitality student internship programs, how does the approval process work and how long are the programs?

The BBA in Tourism and Hospitality Management students are required to complete a minimum of 600 hours of industry experience prior to graduation. Students may either find an employer of their choice or apply to pre-approved internships offered by MODUL Career partners.  The internship must be approved and as soon as the internship is confirmed and, if necessary, a work permit is obtained by the student, a contract is signed between the university, the employer and the student. To successfully complete an internship, the student is required to submit an internship report at the end of the experience and their employer completes an appraisal of their performance.

The internship is an integral part of the study program and allows the students to earn academic credits.

Travel/tourism is a global growth area.  What are current student interest areas in tourism and how does MODUL University cultivate these internship areas?

Each year, MODUL Career conducts a survey among its students to find out more about their interests in terms of their internship, which is very important so MODUL Career can target partners who fulfill the needs of the students and create win-win situations. The international luxury hospitality industry remains a favorite employer for many students, however, a large number of students also look for internships in the area of sustainable tourism, with specialized tour operators or NGOs, as well as with destination marketing organizations and event management companies.

Since MODUL students come from over 50 different nations around the world, many are inclined to work in international settings.  Many express interest in Africa, Australia, New Zealand or North America.

Can you share some successes concerning career placements for students who participated specifically in one of these internships? 

There are many success stories and it is quite common for a student whose performance is outstanding in an internship to be offered a full time position upon graduation. • Christoph Berg, a 2010 alumni, did his internship at TRIPWOLF, an online travel guide and was hired after graduation. 

• Another of our students just finished his internship at SWISS and has been put on the list of high potentials for hire of that particular airline. 

• Carina Becker, who interned at the Hyatt Regency Chicago received a letter of recommendation stating that "Carina's performance leaves us little doubt that she will be a General Manager someday, and we only hope it is somewhere within the Global Hyatt Family".

• Petra Tominz did her internship at the Kempinski Hotel in Portoroz, Slovenia in summer 2010.  Due to her outstanding performance, she has now returned to do another internship at one of Kempinski's properties in Frankfurt.

• More than 200 graduates from the two institutions leave every year to start national and international careers.

  This series of  Hospitality ConversationsTMon Student Internship Programs is meant to share information on various programs being offered to aspiring hospitality professionals at the academic institutions preparing them for their chosen careers.  The student may better evaluate the opportunities afforded them at various colleges and universities while those same colleges and universities measure the caliber of their internship programs against other offerings found around the world.  This gained knowledge may spawn the development of more advanced internship programs for the benefit of all involved.  With the advance in technology and pervasiveness of the internet, there are few stones left unturned for hospitality businesses and aspiring hospitality professionals as they seek the best of the best. 


Kathleen Hogan, MBA

Publisher and Co-Founder of HospitalityEducators.com  

She has a background in management, banking, and finance with a Master's Degree concentration in Human Resources Management.  In addition, Kathleen is a hospice volunteer in Phoenix, Arizona, where she currently resides. Kathleen@hospitalityeducators.com 


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