Internship Story – Emma Balle

Originally from Tauranga, Emma has always seen her study as a means to an end. With a goal of working in a management position in an industry that would give her the opportunity to travel the world, hospitality management was a perfect fit. 

She first heard about QRC from a friend and ended up choosing to enrol in our hospitality management programme because Queenstown is not only the Home of Adventure it is also the Home of Tourism and Hospitality Management education. 

Read on to hear more about Emma’s Internship experience at Millbrook. 


On the Couch with Emma Balle 


What 3 things attracted you to the hospitality / adventure tourism industry and why? 

I loved the idea that having a diploma in hospitality management means that’s one more thing on my CV to secure a hospitality job anywhere in the world. I also loved how hospitality is more than just working in food and beverage, it can also lead to management roles which is where I see myself in the future. I also love the industry because there are so many job opportunities everywhere, which means a whole lot of learning opportunities too. 


How did you first hear about QRC and why did you decide to enrol? 

Originally, I heard it through my friend, Ella Schischka, who was keen to study at QRC, but then later got more information on it through Jade at a career expo in Tauranga. 

I chose QRC because I couldn’t think of a better place to be than Queenstown. I knew this course would help get me where I want to go in the future. 


What were your favourite 3 subjects in terms 1 and 2 and why? 

I really enjoyed marketing. It was a very insightful class and showed what it would be like to follow a career in this area of hotel management. 

Bar and Beverage in term 1 was a highlight of QRC. With no real experience in making cocktails, this class was great. Making a range of cocktails, then getting to try your creation was not something I thought QRC would offer so that was a bonus in my books. Along with our teacher who did an amazing job being with us every step of the way and ensuring we achieved our best. Food Production was another great class, my teacher was amazing and I could really tell cooking is something she is very passionate about. In this class, I proved to myself that cooking isn’t that complicated, and anyone can do it with the right motivation and help. 


What did you enjoy the most about terms 1 and 2? 

I obviously really enjoy the course and everything I have learned so far, but I think the best part for me was everyone who I was surrounded by. I’ve made some awesome friends so far. It’s awesome cause we are all in this together and are always there for each other when times get tough.  


Tell us about your internship experience. 

During my internship I worked in the Food and Beverage Department of Millbrook Resort. I was a waitress when I first started, then moved to a barista role, then was in Millhouse doing 5 star service at night, and then later on I joined the functions team and worked a range of events, including weddings. 

When being a waitress, I was expected to deliver 5 star service to the guests and cater to their every need. I was expected to deliver 5 star quality coffees when I was the barista, along with the end of day admin duties for the coffee machine. At Millhouse, I was expected to be able to provide excellent and professional service to the guests and be knowledgeable on the menu as it is very complex. Working in functions, I was responsible for the set up of the different venues to fit the guests exact needs. 

When working at the Hole in One cafe being the barista, I would typically start at 7am to get the cafe ready for the day which started at 8am. I would set the coffee machine, open the inside and outside of the cafe and set the float up. When working in functions, no two days were the same, which I really enjoyed. There was always a function going on and no two were the same. I would typically come to work in the afternoon and be there till 2am sometimes. these shifts would consist of myself and my co-workers setting up a venue, in lots of cases it was a wedding. I typically worked on the bar at weddings which consisted of me making a range of drinks. then packing down the venue at the end of the night and setting it back up for the breakfast team in the morning. 

I enjoyed working at Millhouse and getting familiar with silver service. I enjoyed seeing how bigger businesses are run, all the ins and out of it. It was great meeting a whole range of people and getting to know why they chose millbrook as their holiday destination. But most of all, I just enjoyed the people I was around. I’ve made some awesome friends in the 9 months I was there. I wouldn’t trade me internship for anything. 


How did terms 1 and 2 help prepare you for your internship? 

Term 1 & 2 gave lots of insight into the procedures of high-end businesses. I was lucky enough to score a job where I could show my new skills and excel from there. I was able to put my bar skills to use along with my silver service set up. 


What was the biggest “take away” from your internship experience? 

From Millbrook, I’ve learned the importance of what great customer service can do for a guest. It all comes back to customer satisfaction. My confidence grew in those 9 months which projected in my ability to be able to talk to guests which is something I have always struggled with. I have obviously been on the receiving end, being a customer, and know how much of an impact a waitress can have on my experience at the place. So, I’d definitely say that with the right attitude and approach, great customer service can never no wrong. 


What would you say to someone considering a career in hospitality? 

I’d say that it is one of the best industries to get into. The opportunities are forever growing and will never be short of a job with a diploma behind you. 


If you had a superpower what would it be and why? 

I’d love to be able to teleport. Imagine being able to just think of somewhere to go and you’re there in a heartbeat. That would satisfy my need of travelling the world. 

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