Our team at Travel Trade Maldives decided to sit down and gain some insight on the inspiring story of Mohamed Iujaaz, Front Office Manager at Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa. He has worked from the very bottom, applying his solid virtues and is one of the Maldivians working abroad at a hospitality brand.
1. What interests you about your particular job?
The best part about my job is that there is no routine. Every day feels like the first day at work: you face new guests, new challenges, new experiences and best of all, you learn something new each and every day. Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa is based on a twenty thousand hectare island, 93% of which is a virgin forest. As soon as you step out of your room you are surrounded by this peaceful nature. All of our guest experiences are curated around nature; the villas are surrounded by lush greenery, some of the infrastructures are built into large granitic rocks and all of our activities are dedicated to discovering the indigenous and some endangered wildlife of the island. The efforts put in by Hilton to help conserve the environment and being the pioneer for sustainable tourism in the country makes me proud of being part of this team. All the above factors compensate for the challenges faced with being in such a remote destination where communications and logistics are not always your best friend.
2. How long have you been working abroad?
I was lucky enough to have been selected in the first batch of Management Trainees by Hilton Worldwide for the Asia Pacific region. My first overseas placement as part of this training programme was with Hilton Kuala Lumpur back in 2014. Shortly after graduation, I started working at the Conrad Maldives (which still belongs to the Hilton chain). Call it wanderlust, but I craved for a more challenging environment and found myself applying overseas again in 2016 and have been here in Seychelles ever since.
3. Why are you willing to work overseas?
Because there is no better feeling than leaving your own country with a passport and a bag and returning with a suitcase full of life-lasting experiences, emotions and memories. There is no better way of learning to appreciate your own country and traditions than to work in a foreign country with a different culture and a different mindset. I truly believe that working abroad helps me become a better version of myself and I am so thankful for this.
4. How did you adapt to overseas work culture?
The first month was the toughest. I was used to working in the Maldives or in Malaysia, both well-oiled machines in terms of modern infrastructure and skilled labour force. Coming to Seychelles was a culture shock for me: things you took for granted were no longer readily available; there is no highspeed internet, parts of the island still have no phone coverage; getting simple things onto the island takes ages; getting the right people and retaining them was not the easiest. I received immense guidance from the General Manager as well as the former Front Office Manager (who funnily enough moved from Seychelles to the Maldives) on facing and overcoming these challenges.
5. Do you believe that working abroad helps your career? Why?
It has been nothing but a journey; I have been blessed with an opportunity that allowed me to grow in my career and especially as a person. I started off as Guest Relations Manager and within a time span of 2 years, I have received two promotions to become Front Office Manager which I believe wouldn’t have happened if I had remained in the Maldives. Working in a remote environment such as this has also taught me a lot in terms of social skills, budgeting, forecasting as well as people management. It opened doors for me that wouldn’t have otherwise: the entire world is now a playground and I am not limited to just my home, the Maldives.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Definitely back in the Maldives, leading a luxury resort and applying all the knowledge and experience I have gained into the Maldivian hospitality scene.