The General Manager of two little Southern jewels, Le Mas des Herbes Blanches***** and Hôtel de Mougins****, Jeremie Achiardy started managing his first hotel just two years after he graduated from Vatel! Motivation, humility, shaking hands with Lady Luck? All three of them sir!
What did you want to do when you were little, and when you were a teen?
You’ll smile, but nothing really original: policeman, fireman, you know the whole lot of jobs that little boys dream of doing. And then when I was a teenager, I loved skiing so much that I wanted to become a ski instructor, but I quickly understood that skiing was much better as a leisure time activity.
So how did you finally decide upon Hospitality then?
As I was born in Monaco, I quickly found out I enjoyed doing summer jobs on the beaches of Monaco or in Cannes. And when it came time for me to seriously consider what I wanted to do later, I asked myself what I really liked in my life and what experiences had impacted me in the past. When I spoke with my parents about how I always strove for customer satisfaction, how I liked teamwork and challenges, I quickly realized that working in hotel management was what I wanted to do in the future. So they encouraged me to study to do this, an education matching my tastes, values and one that would allow me to have a high-responsibility job in the future.
I started with a two-year vocational degree in Hotel and Restaurant management, but when I finished it, I realized that I was still lacking managerial know-how and I felt that I needed to study more in some subjects to be able to apply to the type of jobs I wanted. Even if at that time, I wasn’t really thinking of working elsewhere than in France, the international outreach that Vatel and family members I had in Lyon convinced me to apply in parallel admission.
And did Vatel courses meet your expectations?
Yes, they did, especially with the international outreach through an internship in Scotland where I learned a lot and a melting pot full of different nationalities in my class, students from all over in France and Europe. My fondest memories today include meeting with speakers from Hospitality and friends whom I’m still in touch with. All of my Vatel friends were hired after their final internships in the fields they were applying to. Actually, I have hired some of them, and drawn up partnerships with others; that’s what the Vatel network means. Hospitality is one big family. Almost everyone knows one another and we often call each other to get more information about people who have applied for jobs in our hotels.
A 2008 alumnus, and the General Manager of a hotel in 2010: what’s your secret?
In our line of work, what employers like is to hire personnel who are both motivated and humble. You want to include members in your team who are ready to give and take: you have to know how to boost your strong points and recognize your weak points if you want to improve. I think it’s this spirit plus giving a helping hand to Lady Luck that allowed me to climb the corporate ladder so quickly. I was able to gain the trust of my employers and show them that I was capable of taking calculated risks.
The Mas des Herbes Blanche pool
How would you define your job?
You have to love it, because you can’t count your hours, it’s hard work and you’re under pressure every day. But there is a lot of satisfaction when you’re not afraid of commitment, whether it’s physical, moral or personal.
What do you like the most about hotel management?
Always questioning what you do: doing better than yesterday and even better tomorrow! There’s no routine when you’re working in a hotel. And we’re lucky, at least I am, to work in such beautiful places.
View of the Hotel de Mougins gardens
How would you like to progress in the future?
Right now it’s hard to tell. I’m currently learning new things each and every day, I’m managing on a daily basis, and that’s what I like. A logical continuation would be to have even more hotels to manage as a group manager, or something like that. But I still have to find the right balance between operations and support functions.
And generally, a career is a result of opportunities. I’ve got a professional course of action and I try to stick to it. I think one of the main virtues of this kind of job is loyalty. Whether you’re loyal to a boss, a group, an ideology or values. When you find the spirit you feel right with, you have to try and work with it.