Jelena Petruni from Šiauliai, Lithuania graduated LCC International University in 2002. Jelena has previously worked in the hospitality industry in the United States and Germany, as well as in the customer service industry for Lufthansa Airlines, Germany. Having had such a rich career, Jelena is now occupied with her two small daughters and enjoys her family life in Klaipėda.
What role did LCC education play in your career choice?
In the very beginning, I was not sure what I wanted to do following high school graduation. After realizing that I was strong in mathematics and applied sciences, I chose International Business Administration. I chose LCC because I wanted to learn English with the goal of working at a large company that would combine my strengths in language and applied sciences. LCC provided me a well-rounded education that can be applied in so many different spheres. When I look at the different positions I have held—ranging from administration in academia to customer service for a major airline, as well as the positions in the service industry abroad, the education I have received gave me an international perspective on various things.
Jelena, you spent some time working on a cruise ship. Could you share a bit about this experience?
In total, I have spent a year and a half with two major cruise carriers - Crystal Cruises and Carnival Cruises. The experience and values I gained from working on the cruise lines prepared me for work in the tourism and service industries. Additionally, it became a major influence for continuing my education and completing my Master of Science in International Management at ISM University. In fact, my thesis topic was about employee satisfaction on cruise ships. My goal was to continue working at ISM as a consultant for customer satisfaction, but I decided to move abroad again. I stayed in the service industry, working for Lufthansa as a customer care liaison, and later in a major hotel in Bremen, Germany. While working in Bremen, I was also responsible for developing promotional and marketing campaigns for the restaurant associated with our 4-star hotel.
What would you say is the most challenging and rewarding aspect of the hospitality industry?
In the hospitality industry, you face challenges because customers have expectations of how they believe personnel should act and be. The biggest challenge is meeting their expectations of “shiny on the outside” when you are having a challenging day, especially if the customers cause unnecessary stress for the staff. As far as rewards, I believe the greatest reward is the connections and positive outcomes of investment in human capital. It is amazing when relationships develop due to something that I did. As a result, I now have both personal and professional connections around the world.
What were a few life lessons you learned while at LCC?
Studying at LCC was a lot of fun, and we were like a big family. Even today, although we have not seen each other for 15 years, we value our relationships and take care of one another. LCC had a different mentality in comparison to other institutions, and this is something I loved and valued!