Grad selected for Hilton's prestigious fast-track management program
June 02, 2017
Seren Keskin ’17 is on the fast track to managing one of Hilton Worldwide’s signature properties.
The recent graduate is one of just five chosen out of 900 applicants for this year’s Hilton Elevator Graduate Fast Track Program for the Middle East and Africa region. Participants train to become general managers at one of the company’s 14 brands in as little as five years.
“My father is an electrical engineer working in construction so I have seen mud fields turn into 5-star hotels over the years,” Keskin says of her experiences growing up in Bodrum, Turkey, a city where tourism and hospitality are major industries.
“Hilton is one of the most well-known hospitality companies in the world and is continuously rated among the best companies to work for, so I’m really excited for this opportunity.”
For the next 18 months, Keskin will complete virtual coursework and on-site training at Hilton Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The hotel property is located on Dubai’s picturesque Palm Jumeirah, an artificial tree-shaped island off the bustling city’s coastline.
“The training period takes place only in the region the trainee was recruited for, but from there I could be placed anywhere in the world as long as there is availability at that hotel,” Keskin says. “The opportunities are pretty endless, just like at my Earlham education.”
At Earlham, Keskin doubled majored in Business and Nonprofit Management and Psychology, where her coursework became a proving ground for learning how to compile financial reports and Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threat (SWOT) analyses. She also studied theories in human relations, workplace motivation, employee turnover, and productivity. Similarly, a Field Experience Seminar Class emphasized mock in–person, group, phone and video interviews and resulted in an internship with a real estate firm in Turkey.
She also played on the College’s field hockey team and was the community director of a 72-room residence hall where she was in charge of a staff of seven student assistants.
“The opportunities available to me at Earlham made me a successful candidate for this program,” Keskin says. “In the classroom, I was given the autonomy to make my own academic path while teaching me the concepts I was directly assessed for in this program.
“As a field hockey player, I learned teamwork and how I can make my team better by becoming better individually too,” she says. “As a hall director, I gained hands-on experience in management, supervising a staff of seven while reporting up to my own superiors.”
Keskin’s experiences on and off campus are indicative of Earlham’s distinctive approach to the liberal arts, which makes purposeful connections between classroom learning and experiential opportunities like off-campus study, internships, research, intercollegiate athletics and student club leadership. A major new initiative called EPIC amplifies this approach by linking what students love with what they want to do with their life, including one guaranteed funded research or internship experience.
“Earlham has taught me that opportunities are out there, you need to go out and get them, network, and never stop trying,” she says.
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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is one of only 40 national liberal arts colleges ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' "Great Schools at a Great Price."
Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and firstname.lastname@example.org.