Les Roches holds a special place in the heart of Carl Emberson, VP Marketing and Operations at Mayakoba, a unique, eco-friendly luxury development on México’s Riviera Maya, comprising three hotels, and a PGA Tour Golf Course. Not only did he study here but also met Sabine, his wife of over 27 years. An entrepreneur from the start, Carl opened his first restaurant in Punta del Este, Uruguay in 1985 while still a student at Les Roches.
Of his inspiration to join the hospitality industry, Carl says: “Being brought up in the Fiji Islands where tourism is the principal driver of the economy, it seems to have been built into my DNA since I was a kid. At the same time my guardians at boarding school in Sydney would take me out every Sunday to some of Sydney’s finest restaurants for which I am forever grateful – the combination of both inspired me to be an hotelier.
Upon deciding to study hotel management my parents insisted that I work in the industry for three years. If convinced that being an hotelier was my passion, they would send me to the best hotel school there was. I did my research in the meantime and I had no doubt that Les Roches was the right fit – in hindsight zero regrets on that choice.”
Since finishing his studies at Les Roches Carl has carved himself out a highly successful career in the luxury hospitality business. Notably he has opened 6 restaurants, run a corporate hospitality company, an events company and acted as GM for hotels and resorts across Latin America. He attributes this variety to the education that he received at Les Roches:
“Our studies at Les Roches effectively prepared us for a wide range of opportunities since they were based on excellence in service, attention to detail and creating experiences – all key factors in the service industry, especially in the luxury segment. So the opportunities are numerous and diverse and the wonderful thing is that Les Roches prepares you more than adequately to succeed.”
Carl recently came back to Les Roches as key note speaker at the graduation ceremony in May 2015. Walking again through the main doors, he was amazed by how much the school had developed and progressed since his days as a student. Nevertheless, he was comforted to still find the Les Roches spirit well ingrained into the life on campus. “Physically, Les Roches may have grown but in the heart of the matter it remains with that same spirit that helped me pave my road to success in the industry.”
His advice to graduates and future hospitality managers:
In order to become a successful GM, you have to walk the talk, care for your team, mentor your key players, keep your door and your ears open, engage with your clients and employees alike, watch your numbers, sell and pay attention to detail.
Every person is different: some GM’s are stronger in certain areas and weaker in others but trying to stay balanced will help on your road to success. Be passionate about what you do, consistently lead from the front and you will have a life full of magic moments that only the hospitality business can deliver.”
His thoughts on Les Roches opening a campus in Chicago?
“Les Roches Chicago is the beginning of a new chapter in hospitality education – the possibility for those embarking on this career to study and learn in one of my favourite cities in the world, home to wonderful hotels and restaurants while offering global students yet another option to choose from. Well done!”