For me, hotels are a family affair. In 1993 my father, Anton Wandinger, took a chance on buying a run-down old hotel in the heart of Munich. Over the next 25 years, my parents renovated the building and developed the thriving Hotel Condor, under the management of my mother Marina. Eventually, in 2004, our family bought a second hotel around the corner from the first – a hotel that would go on to mark an important stage in my hospitality journey.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE
It was my father who convinced me to study something within the family industry. I opted for the double degree Bachelor in International Hospitality Management at IU (formerly known as IUBH), as this programme afforded the opportunity to study for a year abroad at one of IU’s (formerly known as IUBH) partner universities – in my cases, I chose NAU Arizona. At IU (formerly known as IUBH), I was impressed with the fact that all the professors have practical career experience in their relevant teaching sector. This experiential knowledge is the most useful thing you can pass on to students, at the end of the day. The small class size were also really helpful in creating a good learning environment.
CAREER, PASSION & KEY LIFE VALUES
Following work experience at the Ritz Carlon in Barcelona and the Hotel Condor, a-Loft and Hotel Bayerischer Hof (all in Munich), I eventually took over management of the second hotel my family bought. That is my career role today: General Manager of the 88-room, 4-star AWA Hotel. More than a career, it represents a passion project, a hotel concept developed in homage to my father while also standing for my key life values of female leadership, awareness, and creativity.
STRATEGIC THINKING IN THE FACE OF CHALLENGE
My IU (formerly known as IUBH) experience helped me in my career in a number of areas, from planning the business to drafting the business plan to some more abstract concerns, such as developing the hotel concept from a creative as well as business-savvy standpoint. Whether growth-oriented, HR-oriented, or customer-oriented, my degree has helped me to think strategically and react calmly to the various challenges that day-to-day business presents.
As for receiving the IU (formerly known as IUBH) Alumni Award nomination, based on testimonial from my colleagues – I was quite surprised, but also proud. It means so much for your peers to take the time and effort to publicly compliment one’s work like that.