Name: Sylvain Guisetti (Yip Hoy Kerng). Job: Director of operations at Peak Cafe, Cafe Deco and Eat (International Restaurant Development Ltd). Was it your ambition to get into hospitality management? Not really. But my father ran restaurants and was a businessman in Wan Chai in the 1970s, so it is in the family. I'm not surprised it happened. Did you enjoy school? I went to a prominent school in Mid-Levels, from which I was almost expelled. Academically I was always very good, but I was a bit cheeky. So my Dad took me over to the old Walled City and told me this was where I would end up if I wasn't properly educated. After that I went back to school and never missed a beat. What were your favourite subjects at school? Probably history and languages. I've always felt languages to be important, but I was also interested in international affairs, business and marketing. What did you gain from your school days? School teaches you how to think and be disciplined. You might not end up doing what you study, but it certainly broadens your horizons. Did you do a degree? I did two. I'm half-Chinese and half-Western, and didn't want to 'take sides' academically. First I went to Switzerland and took a Swiss Hotel Association's degree in hotel management. Then I went to Taiwan National University and did a degree in engineering. What did you gain from your degrees? Both were good academically. In addition, studying abroad teaches you something about new cultures and living independently. You also learn the local language. Financial training featured largely in my hotel management degree, and and that is essential in this business. Engineering allows me to get involved in company design projects. A degree opens doors for you, but once you get into the workforce you have to learn things anew. How many languages do you speak? Burmese, Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Hokkien, pretty good Thai, Malay, Shan (my father's ethnic language), Italian, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese. Some I studied at school, the rest I have picked up. Languages are useful in my job, with all the nationalities we get passing through the restaurants. What courses would you recommend? Some of the American hospitality courses are good from the business perspective, whereas the European courses are stronger on the practical side. There are good courses here as well, such as those at the Polytechnic University. One of my managers is doing a diploma in hotel and catering management and I've seen a great improvement in him since he started it. What do you look for when you recruit? Language skills are important and we expect all our staff to have some English. But confidence is also important in communication, so I look for people who feel comfortable. Any jobs going? Yes, there are always plenty of jobs in this business, partly because of the high turnover. It is taxing as there are long hours and work at the weekend. It is also not financially rewarding at the beginning. To get into the top positions it certainly helps to have a good degree in hospitality management. Related courses in Hong Kong include: Chinese University: tel 2609 6000. Bachelor of Business Administration in Hotel Management. Polytechnic University: tel 2766 5111. Bachelor of Arts in Hotel, Catering and Tourism, Management Diploma in Hotel and Catering Management. Hong Kong Tourist Association: tel 2807 6543. Full list of hotel and catering courses in Hong Kong.