AlumniFinding success in the design world through hospitality

Pascale Müller, a half Swiss, half Swedish IHTTI 2018 alumna, is currently working at a design studio in Zurich.

Early in her studies she decided on a career in the design industry and has been single-mindedly working towards her goal since then. Eight months ago, she was promoted to a Junior Designer at her firm, and is on track for a promising career in the industry.

What made you choose a hospitality and design degree at IHTTI?

In high school I studied biology and chemistry and I was planning to pursue a career in that field. Then, my first job as a waitress changed my mind as I really enjoyed getting to know different people and hearing their stories.

The restaurant was great to work at, but looked very old-fashioned and badly needed a makeover. This is how I got interested in interior design and its role in creating specific moods and environments.

Zurich Junior Designer, Pascale Muller

I was torn between a hospitality and a design education and then found IHTTI and the dilemma was resolved!

What was the highlight of your time at IHTTI?

Socially, it was meeting people from all over the world. I now have friends in New Zealand, Hong Kong SAR, USA, all over Europe and in Africa.

Academically, it was designing a hotel for our final project. It was about ‘fusing’ all our hospitality and design knowledge to create something unique. As in a real-life situation at a design agency, we received a client brief specifying the target audience, number of floors, rooms and so on. Within that, we were free to develop our ideas as we wished.

At the end, I was fascinated by how different each concept was, even though everyone started with an identical assignment.

What kind of career support did you receive during your studies?

IHTTI’s internship office was very helpful, with a mix of one-to-one coaching, workshops and classes on CV writing, personal presentation and interview tips and techniques.

We had an amazing, very approachable internship ambassador who prepared me for my first Skype interview as I was absolutely terrified. He explained the process, what to do and not to do, and told me to make sure I wore pants!

The general atmosphere at IHTTI also helped me become a more open, proactive person aware of my strengths and weaknesses.

How easy was it to find a design job after graduating?

During my studies, I got some design experience during two internships in London and Zurich. I worked hard and the same agency in Zurich hired me shortly before graduation. I’ve been there ever since and 8 months ago I got promoted to a Junior Designer, which was very exciting!

Zurich Junior Designer, Pascale Muller

How relevant is your hospitality experience in the design industry?

Technical hospitality skills we acquired at IHTTI have proven useful: I am often put on hospitality-related projects and asked for my opinion and input.

The soft skills we developed are no less important: my manager doesn’t worry about taking me to external meetings as I am courteous and diplomatic and know how to treat a client.

The combination of hospitality and design has given me so much more than a design degree on its own could ever do. Technical skills can be learnt as you go, but the soft skills are what really set you apart from other professionals in the field.

Pascale Muller graduated from BA in International Hospitality and Design Management

Pascale Muller graduated from IHTTI School of Hotel Management in 2018 with a BA in International Hospitality and Design Management

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