There are a number of different reasons why students choose to study at ESEI. Some want to deepen their knowledge, gain specific skills and gear up for the job market after completing a Bachelor’s degree. Others, who already have years of professional experience, want to expand their horizons, level up in their careers and open doors to new opportunities.
Diana Barankevich is an example of the latter. After working in hotels around the world for several years, she decided to upskill herself and look beyond sales, an aspect of hotel management that she was already familiar with, by studying Business Management at ESEI.
Today, we’re sharing her inspiring story with you.
Training in hospitality around the world
Diana is from the Eastern European country of Belarus. She was always interested in hospitality and wanted to follow the example of her mother who owned a boutique hotel. When it came to learning languages, she was a natural. By the time she turned 17, she spoke English and Spanish fluently and had studied other languages too.
So, she decided to move to Marbella and study hospitality at the prestigious Les Roches University. She did her internship at the Kempinski Hotel in Marbella. Then, she did a semester abroad at a hospitality school in Shanghai, China. During her time there, she participated in numerous events from the Formula One Grand Prix to all kinds of charity events.
After returning from Shanghai, Diana couldn’t shake the travel bug and decided to try her luck in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. She got a job at a beach hotel. What started as an internship quickly turned into a full-time job as an Assistant Sales Manager, then Executive Sales Manager, then Sales Manager. She ended up working there for 5 years.
“I had a really good time in Punta Cana. I was working at a great company, surrounded by great people, in a great location. You get to live on an island, eat pineapples and drink piña coladas. What more could you ask for?” She said
Even though Diana had really taken to island life and reached the top of the career ladder at the hotel, she still wanted to finish her Bachelor’s degree. So she returned to Marbella and got her degree at Les Roches in 2018.
Finding a business school
With her Bachelor’s degree in hand, Diana had yet another decision to make. Should she try and find work at another hotel, or continue with her studies?
As Diana thought about her career and future, she realised what she really wanted was to broaden her horizons and learn something different. While she was highly skilled and experienced in hotel sales management, she wanted to learn more about the business side of things. That’s when she started researching where to study.
When it came to choosing a business school, Diana considered a number of different factors.
Firstly, she looked for a school that wasn’t too big, where she would have access to personalised attention. Secondly, she wanted an international school with worldwide approved certifications and students from all over the world. And thirdly, she had her heart set on a programme that would give her a holistic view of business management, covering every aspect of the field in detail.
And that’s how she landed on ESEI Barcelona, where she arrived at the beginning of 2020.
Getting started at ESEI
As we all know, 2020 got off to a rough start. After just 2 weeks of enjoying campus life, classes were moved online because of the pandemic. Several months of strict lockdown ensued, and, after losing her part-time job in Barcelona, Diana decided to move back to Belarus and continue her studies remotely.
However, these circumstances did not take away from Diana’s motivation to dive deeper into business management and create new opportunities for herself. She has been working hard to complete the group projects for all her classes – and thoroughly enjoying the process.
“The teachers at ESEI are very nice and diverse. The subjects are super interesting. I’d taken some of them before, but I’ve found that I actually enjoy them more at ESEI than at other schools,” Diana said.
As an example of a subject she particularly enjoys, she pointed to the Organisational Behaviour class taught by Steve Mallon, a professor she admires.
“The final projects are challenging and interesting at the same time. They all require teamwork, which is very important in any career. The projects take research, collaboration, discussion and a practical approach. This helps us learn how to lead, follow, meet deadlines, and manage things. So instead of just memorising terminology, we get to practice our skills and implement the knowledge we’ve gained,” she said.
One of the projects Diana worked on was organising the Career Kickoff event which took place on February 5th. Read more about her thoughts on organising this event in our blog post about the benefits of project-based learning.
A look into the future
As for the future, Diana doesn’t want to limit herself to hospitality. Even though she loves sales and loves working at hotels, she’d also like to explore other industries or fields.
“I want to give myself as many opportunities as possible,” she said.
Besides, the ongoing economic crisis has served as confirmation that it’s worth keeping other doors open. The service industry took a huge hit from the pandemic. In many parts of the world, it’s only just starting to recover.
However, Diana is optimistic about the future. With the help of ESEI, she has just found an internship at Spitche, a fast-growing startup based in Barcelona that helps brands improve their social media engagement through gamification. Diana is starting on the 1st of March as a Sales and Business Development Intern, a position that could eventually turn into a full-time job.
“I am very excited about this opportunity, as this company’s concept is so innovative and new for me,” she said.
Although Diana has lived in many different countries and continents, if she could pick anywhere in the world to live and work, she would pick Spain.
“I love Spain. I love everything about the country: the culture, the language, the weather. If I could work anywhere I wanted, I’d work at a hotel chain on an island, maybe Mallorca. I love hotel resorts, the ones with the big pools and big teams. They’re so much fun. If I could pick any role, I’d work in sales. I’ve always pictured myself as a Sales Director. But I’ve also done other things like marketing, revenue, ecommerce and channel management. So I can see myself working in any of those divisions,” she said.
We wish you all the best, Diana!