For the past three years, Akash Sharma has gained experience in almost every facet of the hospitality industry from cleaning rooms to helping to orchestrate elaborate banquets. But the ambitious 21-year old believes he has bolstered his aim of reaching the top of the Sheraton On The Park hotel hierarchy by undertaking a bachelor of business management degree, majoring in hospitality management. His five-year plan is to become the food and beverage manager of the Sydney hotel, where he has been gaining hands-on experience while completing his studies.
“It’s all about the knowledge. Knowledge takes you a long way in your career. It shows that I’m determined and ambitious. I’m devoting my time to study, but I’m also putting in 100 per cent effort at work,” says Indian-born Sharma, who arrived in Australia in 2008 to study a diploma of hospitality at TAFE. “My dream job is to be food and beverage manager and I definitely needed to add to my qualifications to achieve that,” says Sharma, who is set to graduate in November. “I’m already a senior staff member at the Sheraton and now have experience managing a small team. Management want to help me grow because they know I am loyal and hard-working.”
He tossed up between study at the University of Western Sydney and the International College of Management Sydney (ICMS), but was drawn to the latter as he felt its multidisciplinary qualification would give him an edge. Sharma, who hopes to become an Australian citizen, believes the emphasis on combining theory with practice has given him an in-depth knowledge of hospitality and broadened his career options. “ICMS has been a great place to learn. A major challenge for me was to adapt in a highly competitive environment. This has already paid off because I’ve been offered a fulltime position at the hotel as a result of my hardwork,” he says.