Case study

How Elsje landed her dream job in South Africa

Graduate Elsje Hugo went to South Africa for a family wedding and ended up becoming tasting room manager at a prestigious wine farm. She says the reputation of the University of Derby played a big part in her getting the job.

Making a difference

Elsje was looking for some industry experience when she found herself in South Africa’s world-famous wine region for her cousin’s wedding. She had been working as duty manager at a country house hotel in Derbyshire after graduating and wanted to spread her wings.

And she found another exciting chapter in her life was about to begin - thanks to the reputation of our International Hospitality Management BA (Hons) degree. She says: “I cannot explain how many doors it has opened for me. My first job out of University was all through guidance and contacts from lecturers.

“However, the biggest impact was on my job in Cape Town - they told me directly that the fact I have this amazing international degree with the practical experience built into it really made a difference.

“This degree is worth so much. Not only in degree form but the experience as a whole. From lectures to working to living in Buxton as a student – if I could do it all over again, I would do so in half a heartbeat!”

Graduate Elsje Hugo
Elsje Hugo

Managing time

Now, after two and a half years in South Africa , Elsje is back in the UK, running her own company, Auburn Vine. She is a customer experience specialist, running training workshops for companies. But she has retained her link with the South African winery, De Grendel Wines, and is their UK brand ambassador. She also does some public relations work - a pretty full schedule.

She says: “I have had to become very good at time management - something the University taught me. I now plan my week with a good balance between travelling all over for workshops, wine ambassador work as well as some PR.”

‘Golden’ guidance

But time management is not the only thing Elsje has taken away from her course. She explains: “Lectures were always fun and interesting. The lecturers were so great and their stories inspired me and made me curious. But, not only that, they instilled a confidence in me through their support and broadened my horizons with the different parts of the industry that are out there.

“I have continuously been in contact with my lecturers and their guidance, advice and support has been golden - I would’ve struggled without it.”

Chris Jones Culinary Academic Buxton Dome

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