PIHMS Alumni Spotlight – Ajinka Jagdale

02 May 2024

Meet Ajinkya Jagdale, affectionately known as AJ by many. Currently serving as the Director of Hospitality at Shining Peak, an acclaimed brewery nestled in the heart of Taranaki. AJ’s journey from his days at PIHMS to his current role is nothing short of inspiring, and we’re excited to share his remarkable story with you.

How did your experience at PIHMS shape your journey and prepare you for what lay ahead?

Leaving Mumbai and moving to New Plymouth was a significant transition for me, but one that I am immensely grateful for. It provided me with the chance to pursue my goals. PIHMS offered an excellent learning environment, where I not only gained valuable knowledge but also forged lifelong friendships. Venturing into the hospitality industry was a fresh experience, and every lesson I absorbed was a building block for my future success.

When you have an education at PIHMS behind you, I think employers are more likely to take a chance on you, knowing you have skills and a good work ethic. Throughout my time at PIHMS I always had part-time jobs in the bar and restaurant industry and came to know people and make relationships and connections within the industry. Working hard, being reliable and having initiative goes a long way.

How did you land your current position, and could you provide insight into your responsibilities within this role?

I am currently an owner-operator at The Hour Glass, and an owner and Hospitality Lead at Shining Peak Brewing. I do a bit of everything from ordering and stock managing, planning menus, hiring, and managing staff, rosters, finance, customer liaison, admin, handyman and still work the floor and bar a few nights a week – as customer connection is what I love.

I love seeing people feel comfortable and happy in a bar/restaurant setting – a home away from home. I like connecting with people, remembering their preferred drinks and being able to create an environment they want to come back to for years.

I have enjoyed learning about the business and financial side of hospitality. I didn’t really think I was into numbers, but working with our accountant, and seeing the backside of how everything can operate is an area I am always trying to upskill in. 

What aspect of the industry do you enjoy the most?

Meeting people and genuinely connecting with them. I have made so many friendships over the years, and have been able to take advantage of opportunities in creating and running new hospitality venues during this time.

Do you have any brief advice or insider tips for students aspiring to enter the industry?

Get as much varied experience as you can, try out all industries so you know where your passion area is.
Don’t say no to the low-level jobs/tasks. These jobs are humbling, and you can learn some great skills. It shows employers you can work hard and persevere which are qualities employees are looking for.

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