Graduates share experiences with SYB’s 9th batch of students
On March 12th, four graduates came to school to share their experiences after graduation with the 9th batch of SYB students. Even though the second semester just started, graduation is approaching; from July onwards, students will have to design their own career path. They have to start thinking about what they would like to do and some advice from the graduates can be really helpful. This year, the graduates are coming from different working environments: Ma Mingzi is a night-shift baker at the Peninsula Hotel, Jin Huitao is a sous chef at Village127, Shi Ruijian is a junior baker at Lesaffre and Jiang Kaisheng is a baker at Antony Bakery.
In July, students will have a one-year intensive training and internship experience. In the beginning they will not be able to apply for high level positions. The first advice they received was to think clearly about the positions that they would like to apply for.
One other really important advice is to consider what they will be able to learn from their first job after graduation instead of looking at the salary as the most important factor. For students who would like to open their own bakery, they need to accumulate a lot of experience prior to realising their long-term plans.
As all of the students are interns at Shanghai 5-star hotels or at high-quality bakeries, they had not imagined that other companies could offer them interesting positions. Indeed, Lesaffre, who is a world leader on yeast, needs technical developers, positions which are directly linked to what the students have been learning at Shanghai Young Bakers. Developing and testing recipes is also something they could think about.
Although students say it is tough working at 5-star hotels, they can learn a lot from the experience. It is really motivating to be in a work environment where they can develop their skills by using their creativity to produce high-quality products. Students were also advised on the importance of having good relationships with their colleagues and chefs. Even when they leave their job, it is extremely important to maintain mutual respect and leave on good terms. Being recommended by a chef for a new position is always useful.
At SYB we really cherish our relationships with our graduates. Most of them are still actively part of the SYB family and they are essential for our program’s sustainability. They are master bakers and pastry chefs and therefore are well-placed to share their experiences with our current students. Thanks to them, our students became more confident in what they are learning, in how they are learning it and in their career prospects after graduation. Their passion for bakery is growing every day and with effort and time, they will have this precious skill to lead independent lives.