Making the most of your opportunities

Ellen Schmid, Strategy & Business Development Manager, Premier Inn Germany at Whitbread Plc (Eden McCallum Alum)

Worldwide Hospitality Awards Winner 2018: Best Professional Success

I was one of Eden McCallum’s first analysts in Amsterdam. From the first day I felt right at home in what I still believe to be one of the best environments for starting your career. Working with highly intelligent consultants, tackling diverse questions, getting to know various industries and building a wide range of skills really felt amazing, and I wasn’t planning to leave – until a headhunter reached out to me towards the end of my second year, looking for someone with exactly my profile to join Whitbread’s market entry team.

Bringing the UK’s largest hotel chain to my native Germany was an opportunity that was hard to turn down, and in the process of making my decision, I received honest and supportive advice from my mentors at Eden McCallum. In the end I went for it and it has been an amazing journey: we started out as just four people with a plan and Board approval to take the brand to Germany. Today, less than three years later, we have a German office with 30 staff, one hotel open, 10 under construction, a TripAdvisor award, and big expansion plans.

Throughout my time at Whitbread, from starting as an Analyst in the market entry team to my current role as Strategy and Business Development Manager, I’ve been drawing heavily on the skills I learned in consulting: approaching a question in a structured way, collecting data and expert advice, drawing conclusions and effectively communicating the recommendation and action plan. Most of all, I’ve profited from the people skills I honed at Eden McCallum – building relationships with peers and senior people, getting sceptics on my side, and setting a common goal and direction for the team. I count myself very lucky to have started at Eden McCallum, and I’m happy to say I still have a good relationship with everyone there!

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