Sometimes, our initial professional ambitions have very little bearing on the career path we eventually take. In the case of Benjamin-Thibault Chevalier, it was only after failing to gain entry to the Autun military school that he decided, without any great conviction, to follow his best friend and enroll at Blois Hospitality school. Despite having visited only a few restaurants and hotels, he took to the subject passionately. He was helped along the way by talented, reputed and decorated teachers such as Christophe Quantin (MOF), who was the head of the school’s application restaurants and laboratories. Benjamin- Thibault fully immersed himself in his schoolwork, so much so that he decided to pursue further study. With his BTS in hand, he prepared for his Master’s in Science and Technology at La Rochelle University where he met Jean Michel Chapuis, a Management teacher and a pioneer of Revenue management. His talent in Hotel management and everything international became ever-more apparent during his first internship, which was in Thailand and lasted seven months. His passion was then cemented by an internship opportunity in Quebec at the prestigious Fairmount hotel.
All this was within the framework of a level two Master’s in International Hotel Management at the Savoie Mont Blanc Chambéry university. Benjamin-Thibault’s experience in Quebec was so formative that he decided to spend three more years working there as the restaurant’s assistant manager. With the aim of broadening his horizons, Benjamin-Thibault decided to head off to French Polynesia and work at the Intercontinental Moorea hotel to gain further experience of the restaurant industry. Then, it was back to Paris where his passion for numbers overcame that which he had for operations. He became an internal auditor at an establishment which was the polar opposite to what he had previously known, one which puts gastronomes particularly on edge: McDonald’s. He states that he ‘learnt a lot about American food standards and procedure’ from this experience, which he undertook whilst having a parallel role in the Hotel industry at the Hilton next to Paris Orly airport. He then went on to manage the accounts and finances of eight hotels belonging to the same chain. Simultaneously, he gave lessons at a range of teaching establishments.
In 2016, Benjamin-Thibault took the radical decision to set off on a world tour with the desire of sharing his experience of other countries with as many people as possible. He wished for this idea to materialize through the creation of a website and by incentivizing Facebook and Instagram groups. The result was a blog which had 5000 viewers a month, which was, in part, due to his destinations such as India, Australia and Vietnam, as well as the bucketsful of memories he picked up along the way. When he returned from his adventures, he had two job choices: to work as a financial director in a hotel establishment or to teach finance at FERRANDI Paris within the framework of a Master of Science in Hotel management. The desire to create links between the professional world of Hotel management and students won him over, and that’s been his daily life ever since. His goal today is to create a certain closeness with his students and to instill the culture of the industry in them in a very practical manner with a cartesian and pragmatic approach. “I try and get rid of any preconceptions they may have, so that they learn how to reason, become independent and are eager for experience”. More and more students attracted by entrepreneurship want to map out their own path to success, which is a real point of satisfaction for their teachers.