My mentoring program was one of my academic highlights for the year 2021. I was very fortunate to have Urs Eberhard, Head of Markets for Switzerland Tourism as my mentor.
The first virtual meet-up was already productive. He shared his professional expertise regarding my business plan project, «The BnB Republic of Switzerland» (Feasibility of establishing a luxurious Bed and Breakfast in Ottenberg, TG). This was for my module Practical Experiences in Tourism. Since the documents about «Diversity at Switzerland Tourism» were private and confidential, I could not feature the company for my project for the module Change, Culture and Strategy. However, Urs still shared his thoughts about the importance of diversity in a company.
Moreover, he also shared his knowledge about my possible topics for the master thesis. We talked about food tourism, digital nomads and influencer marketing during that time. The latter we agreed to as the most interesting, current, and practical topic for Swiss Deluxe Hotels. Despite his hectic schedule, he helped me with the draft of my proposal and he even entertained our invitation to become one of the interviewees for the module Project Management «Heidi goes UNESCO».
In summer, I proposed the idea of visiting the corporate headquarters of Switzerland Tourism in Zurich and doing on-the-job training. Urs and his team organized a day at the Market Services department. They support international markets logistically and operationally with activities such as media trips, workshops, and international projects such as filming the K-Pop Drama «Crash Landing On You (CLOY)». I am a massive fan of the Netflix series, so it was fascinating to see the behind-the-scenes videos of the series. On the other day, I was with the Switzerland Convention and Incentive Bureau team. This department is responsible for the meeting and incentive sector that deals with the market representatives, preparation of sales tools, central instruments such as general strategy, photo shooting for destination weddings and websites. I participated in various virtual sales calls, especially «Wedding Destination China».
For a mentoring program to be successful, I have learned that one should be very engaging and active as a mentee. One should have the initiative. One should not be afraid to raise questions, even if some are sometimes mundane. Time management is another significant factor. Juggling work, commitments from the university, and the mentoring program itself could be tiring and time-consuming. However, if one is disciplined and determined, it could be pivotal for success.
The mentoring program was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I have met essential and exciting personalities from the travel industry. It was such an enriching experience that made my network more extensive, thus making me more inspired and empowered. To the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons and Riccarda Ryffel, I am humbled and grateful, and I AM PROUD TO BE A MENTEE.
Thomas Sevilla is completing a Master's degree in Business Administration at the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons.