Shane’s Hospitality Journey: The Next Chapter
Shane’s Hospitality Journey: The Next Chapter
Last year we caught up with Shane de Saram, one of our valued IHG team members - who is going from strength to strength at IHG. If you haven't read the first part of the story yet - catch up here
Having recently returned home after accepting a job as Learning Technology Manager at our Shanghai head office, we decided to catch up with him and hear what he had to say about his experiences abroad with IHG…
What was your favourite thing about life in Shanghai?
It’s hard to pinpoint one thing but the culture is stunning and just so different from home. It was great to be immersed into something totally new for six months and understand more about the complexities of life in another world. Seeing the landscape in person, and not just in pictures, was mind blowing. The infrastructure in Shanghai is also staggering. Everything is modern, fresh and efficient. No delays, no fuss.
How did you adjust to the culture there?
I realised I had to be patient and open minded. I went into the whole experience with no preconceptions. China definitely has a different way of living, so I had to try my best to adapt to their ways. I wanted to absorb and live the culture rather than feel ‘other’ from it. Personal space was a challenge though; public transport could be quite chaotic! It’s all part of the Shanghai experience though I guess, and acclimatising and enjoying the differences in our cultures was one of the highlights.
Do you feel a role there helped you to grow and gain good experience?
Yes without a doubt. I moved from a global team, to a regional team and this exposure changed my perspective on things completely. I was exposed to so many talented and intelligent people, and the way they accepted me into their team was so welcoming. I felt it was very easy for me to settle in and I became immediately focused on listening, absorbing and understanding their perspective and figuring out how I could help. The best part is that I can now take back and transfer all of the knowledge and experience I gained to my job in the UK. I truly feel I’ve grown both personally and professionally.
How did your time at Shanghai help you to secure another promotion?
My move to Shanghai was a promotion in itself, and I was able to retain my position upon my return to the UK, albeit in a different area of Global Learning. I feel it was a big step in my career and that I’m still growing and learning from every day. I am just so glad I was able to use my time in Shanghai to really prove myself!
Would you recommend relocating for a job to others who were considering it?
I totally would, yes! If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do then you have to go for it. It might not be for everybody, but it was a fantastic experience for me personally to meet new people and gain new experiences. You do have to make sacrifices though - it can be tough not seeing loved ones for such a long amount of time.
How did IHG help you to settle in Shanghai?
They helped with everything! From accommodation and resources, to transitions from my previous role to my new role. They took care of flights, living allowances and the legal side of things. It took me a little while to settle down, but luckily I made a great friend there who I’d connected with beforehand, so I felt supported the whole time I was there.
Would you do anything differently if you went again?
Professionally no, I went in with a good mind-set to get as much experience and knowledge in 6 months. I had great IHG mentors in my life who were able to help me formulate my approach to working in a new environment. Personally, I would travel some more. I love video editing so I carried on with that whilst I was there - but I should have done more exploring instead!
Did you make any new friends during your time there?
Yes I made a very valuable friend, Heather, who I could always count on. She welcomed me and we’ve become great friends. I now consider her as close as family. She took the time to get me settled into life in Shanghai and support me. I also made many work friends around the office, as everybody was so lovely.
Would you return?
Yes, but for less than 6 months next time I think. Personally, it was a long time to be away from friends and family. Two to three months would be more realistic for my next trip!
What are your career plans for the future now?
It’s hard to say right now! I’m still rather new to my current role and I am still learning from my peers and fantastic leaders I am working with. I am in the right place for now, and I’m really enjoying it. There’s so much opportunity and flexibility within IHG, so who knows where my career will take me next!?
You can truly make working at IHG whatever you want it to be. It’s possible to mould it to your own experience, and you’re given the freedom to create your own future here. That’s what I did and I couldn’t be happier with my progress!
Ps. The food in Shanghai was amazing!
So if you’re in search of a career that will open up a world of possibilities, look no further than IHG. We’re always looking for the hardest workers and biggest dreamers, just like Shane. We want people who can take our company to the next level and constantly better themselves. After all, we love to see our people thrive too, not just our business.
Click “Search Jobs” at the top of the page to see the exciting opportunities we have available!