Ibad Abdulla was born and raised in Fuvahmulah and completed his Bachelor of International Hospitality Management from Taylors University, Malaysia. He also holds a Master of Business Administration certificate from Villa College in affiliation with University of West England. His Journey in Hospitality began as a reservation assistant and gradually grew to the position of Management Trainee, Assistant F&B Manager before taking the role of Executive Assistant Manager.

What made you choose hospitality as a profession and tell us about how you started your career?

When I was a little boy, I always wanted to become a news anchor. After completing my A levels, I was planning to do a journalism course. But things changed when a cousin of mine took me to a resort on a school holiday. That was my first experience in a Resort. I was impressed by the professionalism displayed by the Resort staff and wanted to experience at least once in my life. After completing my A levels, I got the opportunity to work at Paradise Island Resort as a trainee. After 3 months I was offered the job of Reservations Assistant, and this began my career in this industry.

What is the secret behind having such a successful career at a young age?

The secret for my success is following my dreams and working with passion and commitment. From the time I was doing my bachelor’s degree, I had always dreamed to become the youngest General Manager in the Maldives. Since then, I have been chasing my dream and taking on all the challenges that came my way. I believe facing challenges is a great way for self-development. I always take my job very seriously and dedicate most of my time to accomplish my goals.

What are the challenges you have faced in your career, and how did you overcome it?

Today graduates of hotel schools are more reluctant to start at the bottom and aspire for an accelerated career path because of the costs of their education. It’s long hard work, as a manager you can work long hours, and most of the time you’re on your feet. You work every special event, Christmas day, New Year’s Eve, and Valentines etc. Resorts never close so I am on call 24/7. People see this industry as a last resort or something you can get in to when your career is not going anywhere. For years you serve people and clean up after them. I have worked in a resort with high turnover and employed so many people, but it still is not seen as a particularly desirable or worthy job by many people. Patience is something that is highly required and can be so challenging. We have to deal with young unskilled staff a lot of the time, not to mention meeting the expectations of a diverse guest segment.  You have to be prepared to work hard; before you reach senior management, the shifts are long you have to get out of bed after few hours of sleep and be happy and ready to start again.

Do you think we can maintain the tourism industry’s local versus foreign ratio in senior roles?

I strongly feel we can maintain the ratio because we have lot of locals who are skillful and passionate to grow in the industry and the more opportunities, we provide them the more chances we give them to grow in this field. In some areas there are very few trained locals, such as spa and wellness. There’s a need to have better hotel schools to train individuals for such positions. Resorts should have more management trainee programmes to build local talents for managerial positions as this will give local talents the drive to excel in this field.  It’s good to see in most of the local brands they prefer to have locals for the key management

What is the best advice you can give to young adults looking to join the industry?

Tourism Industry has lot of career opportunities for fresh graduates and young adults. My advice for the young adult is to take every opportunity they get. It’s not the brand that matters. It’s about willingness and passion to learn.  If you are new and uncertain about taking a path in the industry, get advice from industry professionals, most importantly, be committed for the job.

Is there anything else you would like to highlight?

Hospitality industry has made me a better person. It has made me develop self-discipline, time management skills and so on. It has also made me self-reliant and given me the opportunity to serve which is what we are all here for…the look of joy on our Guests’ face is the most gratifying thing we can possibly see in our professional lives.