PIHMS Alumni Spotlight – Emily de Smidt

01 February 2024

Introducing Emily de Smidt, a vibrant PIHMS alumna who made her mark as the Student President from July to December 2019. Since graduating, Emily has ventured into diverse roles, contributing her skills in Conference and Events, Administration for StudyLink, and Front Office Operations for a well known New Zealand hotel chain.

Today, Emily is a key member of the PIHMS Marketing Team, shining as a Recruitment Advisor. In this role, she passionately shares her love for hospitality with new students, bringing her real-world experiences to inspire the next generation of professionals.

We recently caught up with Emily and gained insights into her journey so far:

Looking back, what are some of your fondest memories or most valuable experiences from your time at our hotel management school? “So many to choose from, but I think my fondest memories are the people you meet at PIHMS as well as out on placement. I have made friends/connections all over the world. I have been invited to people’s weddings in Argentina just because we became so close on industry placement. The people you meet along the way become your second family!”

What are some of your proudest achievements or career highlights? “My proudest achievements are probably being called back to the hotel I used to work at before COVID happened. I must have done something right. But also, the role that I am currently in. My work ethic while studying clearly didn’t go unnoticed. I like to think I was somewhat headhunted for my current role after my delayed graduation. I felt very special!”

Is there a student, colleague, or mentor who played a significant role in your success, and if so, how? “I think a student that played a role in my success was Kelsey May; she was a top student and she pushed me to be the best. Not sure if she realised this or not, but I worked hard to keep up with her! A colleague, there are a couple from placement and a few that I currently work with who push me to be the best that I can be. A mentor that has helped me is probably my mother; she’s my best friend. Having someone unrelated to the industry or PIHMS is helpful and refreshing, providing another point of view on what I can improve on.”

What advice would you give to current students at your alma mater as they embark on their careers in hospitality? “Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Put your hand up for anything that will give you some experience. Apply for the roles; you never know, you could be a great fit!”

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