Here’s what past graduates wish they knew at the start of their journey

Here at IHG, we run graduate programmes across the world.

If you’re interested in one of our grad programmes, you’ll probably be intrigued to discover what to expect. And what better way to get an idea of what the experience is really like than to hear what past graduates have to say? From recognising your mistakes as well as your successes, to having clear goals and realising how exposure across different areas can help make you a better leader, our grads have got some insightful things to share.

It’s these superstars who help our business to grow and flourish, and that’s why we put so much emphasis on making our graduate schemes the best in the world. But don’t just take our word for it, find out from real people who have gone through the process themselves how they have grown personally and professionally.

This is your chance to get some insider pointers and find out what to expect from our graduate schemes. These graduates have completed our Future Leaders graduate programme, find out more about this specific graduate programme here.

Here’s what a few of our past graduates wish they knew at the start of their journey.



Before the beginning of the Future Leaders Program, the first thing I got excited about was the fact I could have a rotation period that covers all departments in a hotel. This meant I would be able to know a bit more detail about how every department works. The other thing I wish I knew was how much the graduate programme gave me the opportunity to explore my potential and all the things I’d learn doing such an intense programme in quite a short time.   

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April, Assistant Marcom Manager- Crowne Plaza Beijing Sun Palace



Before the programme started and from the beginning of my career, I was dying to know “what does the GM do every day?” The grad scheme enables you to discover this. In the programme, the GM is your coach and you also get the chance to work with them for a few days. This opportunity enabled me to learn more about the General Manager’s role.

It is so different compared with the operations department, mostly, the GM is the one who sets goals, gives direction and leads people, personally influencing their staff. And also, I realised the GM is an individual, and they simply can’t do everything.  They also need a lot of support from their team. One of a GM’s best skills is the ability to bring people together.

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Louis, Chief Concierge - Holiday Inn Chengdu Century City



At the start of my Future Leaders journey I wish I knew that careers are not straight forward, that even though you may have an end goal in mind, there are many different pathways to success.  I have learnt that you shouldn't question your decisions but own them, sometimes you may doubt that you are on the right track but if you work hard and are true to yourself it will all work out in the end. 

As they say, you will learn just as much from your mistakes as you do your successes. I wish I knew that personal growth is uncomfortable and often the most challenging roles and environments will shape you into a more effective leader. 

At the time people told me how important my cohort of Future Leaders would be to my 'network' and they were right.  I wish I had truly understood how much I would grow to value the people that I have met in the Future Leaders programme as trusted advisers, peer mentors and friends. 

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Sophia, Director of Food and Beverage - Crown Plaza Terrigal Pacific



At the start of my Future Leaders grad journey, I wish I knew that (sometimes) less is more. It is such a rich programme which you quickly get extremely passionate about. But it’s important to always keep a sense of priority and remain efficient.

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Thomas, General Manager - Hotel Indigo Berlin Ku'damm

Inspired by some of these stories? One of our graduate programmes could be perfect for you. All you have to do is apply, and you could be on your way to becoming a manager at one of our prestigious hotels around the world. Click here to read more information about our graduate programmes.