Sony Pandian's story
I was born and raised in a hospitality background family. From 14 years of age I have consistently assisted my parents in their Restaurant, which grew my interest in joining the same industry. I did not pick hospitality by accident, I chose it with love and passion. My absolute first job was when I moved to the UK in 2009, when I began working at Forest Pines Hotel in the Restaurant.
With child responsibility, I have had some time off over 6 years and enjoyed my time as home pastry specialist. I was continuously searching for something inside me and I realize I needed to extend academic knowledge in the industry. In 2017, I joined the university to do BA Hospitality Management, and took work with Accor simultaneously, and began at ibis budget London City Airport as a Front Office Team Member. I have achieved so much in such a brief period, within five years moving from front office to Assistant General Manager at ibis London Barking.
I took my MBA during the lockdown in 2020 and it was quite challenging to work and to study online. My MBA was in project management and it took two years and I got a first-class degree.
The MBA was about management, leadership, setting new tasks, motivating the team, working with deadlines, and meeting customer needs end to end. It was really good in terms of hospitality because it helps implement new changes after the pandemic. The way we look at hospitality industry sector has changed completely after this challenging period, it helps to understand people’s mentality and mindset.
I love challenges and puzzles. I have a can-do mentality and I never give up on any given task. I was athletic since childhood and my team knows I have a lot of energy to do anything that comes my way. Nowadays, I do a lot of cycling and I keep myself active.
There will never be a dull moment in the hotel industry and there is something new consistently where we can energize guest by being their sparkle, which brings such a happiness and fulfilment in your heart. I do not rest until any given task has been finished.
I have been Assistant General Manager at ibis London Barking since June 2021 and been taking care of ibis budget Barking since September 2022 as Assistant General Manager. I now overlook both the properties and assist General Manager with day today hotel operations. I have a supporting team and I’m being mentored by my General Manager Jordi Pena who supports constantly and helps me to be the best version of myself.
To anyone starting in hospitality, keep your eyes and mind open. Look for what interests you and there is always room for more flexibility. Our industry opens entryways for all individuals, whether your experience is medicine or engineering; age or education isn’t a barrier, either. I suggest to consider hospitality because there is never a dull moment – every day is different.
The hospitality industry provides multicultural work environments and valuable life skills; additionally, when you enter a hotel, guests from all over the world greet you. You gain enormous information by communicating with them and particularly while working at the front desk, you learn little about peoples’ way of life, culture and their hospitality. The international nature of the hospitality industry makes it an ideal career choice; anywhere in the world, you can carry on with your career.
- Sony Pandian
- Assistant General Manager
- ibis London Barking (United Kingdom)