Himanshu Luthra completed two programs at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, achieved top grades, and padded his resume with experience working with top-tier organizations in the field. He's about to graduate from a degree program with impressive grades, and he said faculty and employees set him up for success by providing support and pushing him to take risks.
“As soon as I started, I was in awe of the hospitality spirit and genuine positive attitude of the professors and staff members, who want to help you succeed,” he said.
Himanshu graduated from the Hotel Operations Management diploma program in 2018, and this spring, he completed the Honours Bachelor of Business Administration program. Because of the disruption in the hotel industry due to COVID-19, he’s considering taking time before pursuing his career and complementing his hospitality education by studying human resources at George Brown’s Centre for Business.
Finding support and seizing opportunities
While the college provided key supports, it was Himanshu’s impressive work ethic and initiative that prompted him to seize every opportunity available to him to advance his learning and career prospects.
“I, by definition, have a learning disability. That means I sometimes struggle to understand class content at the same speed as other people and face challenges in a way that forces me to spend numerous extra hours studying,” he said.
On top of managing his studies, Himanshu was also diagnosed with a painful chronic illness and had obligations to work at his family's business. After falling behind in a few classes in his first semester and feeling a bit lost without many social connections at the college, he resolved to move forward with a positive attitude and to “have an engaged educational experience.”
“I persevered by adapting the situation in the most optimistic reality,” he said. “I found progressive solutions like speaking up and being open with my professors and discussing how we can work together to create opportunities.”
Himanshu connected with Accessibility Services for academic supports and spoke openly with his instructors and support staff about the challenges he faced. He went on to make the Dean’s Honour List in nearly every semester in both programs. Himanshu put himself out there by joining the Centre for Hospitality and Culinary Arts (CHCA) Ambassadors Program, which involved volunteering at college events, leading tours of the school and speaking at open house events. He met new people, found support and opened himself up to new opportunities.
And opportunities soon came.
Impressive real-world learning experiences
In the first semester of the first year of his diploma program, Himanshu landed a highly prized internship by seizing an opportunity to attend a college event with a representative from Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. He put on a suit and eagerly took in what the guest speaker had to say. The speaker noticed how engaged Himanshu was with her presentation.
“Right there, right then she told me: Apply for the position you want this summer. You can choose any hotel you want,” he said.
Himanshu chose the historic five-star Fairmont Banff Springs, a luxury resort in the Canadian Rockies. And his choice of position? Housekeeper.
“If I want to be a hospitality leader and a manager in the future, housekeeping is the heart of the hotel organization,” he said. “If it’s the most important job in the hotel, then I want to start in housekeeping.”
“It was one of the toughest jobs I’ve ever done,” he said, adding that it was also a rewarding experience.
Later, thanks to his first position, he landed a second work placement with Fairmont Hotel Group at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. He worked in telecommunications handling wake-up calls, reservations, and a range of customer requests.
Himanshu said he would love to run his own hotel and explore human resources opportunities in the industry. But ultimately, he would like to teach at George Brown.
"After several years here, I enjoyed the education experience. It’s not easy for me,” he said, noting he had a great experience but also knows there are areas for improvement. "I really care about the student experience. What makes me happy is teaching others what I’ve learned and pushing them to be the best they can be.”
Himanshu will join the Class of 2021 by celebrating convocation virtually on Friday, June 25.
Congratulations Himanshu and all George Brown graduates!