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Profiles

Sebastien Laval - BA Tourism Management, 2008
How important was your degree in helping you pursue your career?

I have had a dream since I was 15 to create a Medieval Resort where the experience offered would be to travel back in time for your vacations. Abertay gave me the tools to appraise my project in depth (service, supply chain, marketing) and understand that the project required a few tens of million pounds and also a lot of knowledge for success. Also very important were my positions at the Hilton and the Old Course Hotel, where I was practicing what I was studying on the hospitality side.

Since graduating, can you describe the journey to your current job?

After graduating I went back to France to work for a Parisian hotel chain, before moving to Houston, where I was hired as a phone operator at a 4 diamond hotel and then promoted to food & beverage senior manager. I was missing my home country and took a job as Food & Beverage assistant director for two 4 star hotels in Avignon, Provence. I grew a passion for wine, there, in the capital of the Rhone Valley and I ended up doing a food and wine pairing for François Hollande, the President of France. After moving back to the USA in July 2012, I was hired as General Manager at an old establishment in Houston: La Colombe d’Or Hotel & Restaurant. A year later, I was contacted by two-time James Beard Award winner and Michelin-starred chef, Bradley Ogden, to open his fine dining establishment. I served as opening general manager until called by Olivier Ciesielski (trained by Bernard Loiseau, the youngest chef to ever receive three Michelin stars) owner of L’Olivier Restaurant to be his General Manager. I am now General Manager of Table on Post Oak near the Galleria in Houston.

Do you have a message for students preparing to enter professional life?

Open your eyes to the world! Opportunities are all around you. I have said yes to a lot of things in my life and I am proud with what I have achieved professionally and personally, thanks to a positive attitude.


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