Name: Sebastian Kern
Years attended GESS: 1993 - 2007
Current location: Singapore
Current occupation: Outlet Manager F&B Grand Hyatt Hotel Singapore
1. What do you miss most about your time at GESS? What is your fondest memory?
Everyday life, meeting new friends, accepting new challenges, growing together, appreciating the ups & downs, developing and achieving the main result: school qualification ‘Abitur’.
One of my greatest memories, which I still remember clearly, was during our ‘Abiturstreich’ – it was a moment I’ll never forget. Secretly meeting at night at GESS and surprising all students the next morning. Great memory.
2. What do you miss most about Singapore and your life there? If it has been a while, what do your remember most about your life in Singapore?
After having worked in Germany and Switzerland and completed university in Switzerland – I am happy to say that I am back where I grew up – Singapore!
3. What did you always want to tell my classroom teacher but never dared to say?
There were many times homework was not done/completed J However we always found a way around it... except for a few times.
4. Do you think your time in Singapore and your time at GESS had an impact on your future life? If so, can you describe it?
Being born in Hong-Kong and raised in Singapore though being a German nationality - Singapore is a true melting pool of a multi-cultural environment. You are given the opportunity to live, work and study with numerous nationalities tremendously broadening your knowledge horizon for you the future to come. You get to learn how people ‘work’, how they behave, how they convey feelings etc.. These are all positive elements you can learn during your stay in Singapore and also at GESS. It surely helped a lot to understand, work and collaborate with different people from different ethnic groups – and made me see things in a very different way.
5. Is there any piece of advice or any experience you may like to share with current GESS students of fellow alumni, e.g. choosing the right university, finding a job etc.?
Follow your heart. Even though this statement may sound very vague and cliché – it is essential to do what you enjoy doing on a daily basis.
Working in hospitality for many years and in different chains/groups as well as locations now shows the positive impact on my life. Work is hard, it is not easy – however it is rewarding in many different ways. Even if others try to influence you in your decision making, do what you think is the right for You. Talk to people. Get to know people and go out and network. Find out what their opinions are. However stay true to yourself.
6. Tell us a bit about where you went after you left GESS and what happened to you.
After graduating from GESS, I made my way back to Germany to enter into an internship at ‘Schloss Reinhartshausen Kempinski’ Hotel (Rheingau). This was mainly for me to see if the career path I was considering was really suitable for my future and if I would like to broaden my knowledge in terms of studying more in this field.
What should have been a 1-month’ internship turned out to be a full-time, 1 year and 6 months “internship”. During this time I made great friends, learned a lot and appreciated the job scope I went through. After this time, I made my mind up to study and enrolled for a Bachelor of Business Administration in Switzerland at Glion Institute of Higher Education (G.I.H.E.). During my studies I was given the opportunity to opt for a dual Bachelor Degree (Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management; BSc at Les Roches-Gruyere University of Applied Sciences). The time spent at university was hard. It was really not easy, requiring a lot of work and dedication.
What might be interesting to know is that my grades and knowledge skills during school weren’t that great. I had difficulties passing exams and it was a rough patch of my life, having difficulties to pass my Abitur. However, once attending university – I changed tremendously.
After my 4 years at university I graduated within the top 5% of all graduating students (600+ that year). Completed two Bachelors (BBA & BSc), received the Academic Excellency Award presented and awarded by Audemars Piguet as a student who went the extra mile and had shown dedication throughout his studies.
I was given the opportunity due to my GPA from my semester along with a handful other students to be enrolled in the ETA SIGMA DELTA (International CHRIE) Honour Society, have acted for two consecutive years as Resident Assistant (to be the main person in-charge of a student body – living away from Campus – of over 400 students), have been elected as Academic Class Representative throughout the semesters as well as to be in the jury panel of the Food Representative of the university.
Excluding the above mentioned, I have additionally completed and assisted in more than 25 other curriculum activities, thus receiving the certificate of Ambassadorship. During my studies I also enrolled in another learning environment – the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) completing my passion for wine and am officially recognized as a Sommelier. Momentarily completing my Master of Sommelier.
As seen above, one can really change if you have the right mind set, passion and dedication. Everything is possible if you strive to be the best and and follow your instincts and heart.
7. What are you currently doing and what plans do you have for the future?
After graduating from university I had various options and job offers. I decided to sign my contract with Grand Hyatt Singapore as Corporate Leadership Trainee, which I have received 5 months prior graduating. After completing this role with success, I took over Beverages for all F&B outlets as Beverage Manager. After a year of hard work – assisting as well in operations – I am now the Outlet Manager of 10SCOTTS restaurant and the Beverage Manager for all F&B outlets at Grand Hyatt Singapore. A hotel consisting of 663 rooms and numerous iconic F&B outlets recognized worldwide. Grand Hyatt is extremely innovative and pro-active towards sustainability and environmentally friendliness when it comes to choosing the products Hyatt use on a daily basis. Additionally, Hyatt was the very first to implement the ‘open-kitchen’ concept in SEA/Asia PAC making it truly a one of a kind Hotel I am proud to be working for. What is unique working for a Hospitality chain is that every single day is different. Every day one encounters new challenges, learning and growing from these experiences as well as getting to know new people. Absolute great networking possibilities!
8. Why would you recommend GESS to other students, parents or teachers?
It is a school like no other. Well-rounded and in the smack centre of Singapore; an island which is fruitfully growing to its best.
“Life is like a camera ...
Focus on what’s important;
Capture the good times;
Develop from negatives, and if things don’t work out,
Take another shot!”