Yevgeniy (Eugene) Demchuk
Seneca Program: Hospitality - Hotel and Restaurant Services Management
Degree Program and Institution: Bachelor of Arts in International Hotel Management – Royal Roads University
Master’s Program and Institution: Master of Arts in Tourism Management – Royal Roads University
Why did you choose to study at Seneca?
Seneca’s reputation as a leader in developing strong academic programs in hospitality management and service leadership was a primary factor in my selection. Additionally, I appreciated the breadth of on-campus facilities and range of student services that were available.
How would you describe your overall experience at Seneca?
Once I got over the initial culture shock of moving to an entirely new country, it was the best time of my life. I vividly remember arriving to the Residence at Newnham Campus and thinking to myself: “What did I get myself into?”. Even though I had experience living abroad (in the UK), the North American way of life and the Canadian winters were a big adjustment.
However, the Markham campus is so sleek and modern. I remember how impressed I was by the facility when I arrived for my first day of class. It also exuded a sense of corporate professionalism that was unlike any of my past educational experience.
I reflect on my Seneca experience fondly. Some of the standout memories include:
- Learning from and getting to know my faculty who I remain in contact with to this day.
- Being a Career Fair Supervisor for my Conference Management class, which formed the event planning and coordination team for the annual Career Expo hosted by the School of Hospitality & Tourism.
- Expanding my professional network and meeting life-long friends whom I continue to maintain friendships with.
What influenced your decision to continue your education after completing your diploma?
There were several reasons why I decided to pursue the degree pathway at Royal Roads University (RRU). First, I was able to complete my degree in only one year. Second, it presented the opportunity to live and study in another part of Canada.
How did your Seneca program prepare you for your degree program? For your current career?
Seneca helped to build strong foundational knowledge for my degree program. The courses I took at Seneca prepared me well for RRU. In terms of career, now working in higher education myself, I feel that Seneca helped to set the bar in regards to the type of instructor and practitioner that I would like to be. Through my experience at Seneca, I came to understand the value of a high-quality education. Currently, I aim to provide the same to students of the college I work at.
What are you up to now?
I currently work in higher education. I am Head of Academics at a private career college in Toronto. I oversee the operations of the academic department and with my team, ensure that we deliver high-quality student experiences. In addition, I teach hospitality and tourism classes when I am not too occupied with primary responsibilities.
How did you enjoy your experience at our partner institution?
I enjoyed my experience at Royal Royals tremendously. Between Seneca and RRU, I was able to experience life in different parts of Canada. The transition to Royal Roads was seamless. I really felt that I received a superior education thanks to their top-notch faculty. My instructors showed that they genuinely cared about students’ success and they were willing to go the extra mile in challenging each of us to reach our fullest potential. In addition, I enjoyed memorable student experiences throughout my time in Victoria, British Columbia.
From experience, what do you think is the value of having a diploma, degree and master’s degree?
I have seen and experienced first-hand the value of all three credentials. Each academic experience played a significant role in helping to get me where I am today. My experience at Seneca exposed me to Canadian culture, a different education system and connected me with my first Canadian work experience. It also laid the foundation I needed to succeed in a degree program.
Upon graduation from the degree program at Royal Roads, I landed a managerial position at one of Canada’s most iconic hotels - the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. This was my first leadership role; not to mention, my network has grown 10-folds since!
Finally, after I completed my master’s program I was able to set foot into academia. I believe that my breadth of education as well as my industry experience helped me to secure my current position. I am also confident in my ability to carry out my day-to-day responsibilities.
Do you have words of advice to students who are currently in the program you graduated out of at Seneca, and who may be considering pursuing further education?
I think it is important to visualize your aspirations and then chart out the steps you plan to take in order to achieve your goals. I believe setting long-term goals first and then some short-term ones to help lead you there is definitely a worthwhile exercise.
Of course, formal education helps – obviously in equipping you with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to succeed in your chosen career path but also, to help you in your own journey of self-discovery. I have seen how my career has progressed alongside my attainment of further education, which has been a positive and motivating force.
From my own experience, I definitely feel that furthering my education helped to open new doors each step of the way. For example, prior to Seneca, I had some work experience in the restaurant industry but was still exploring and considering different career paths. I thought the HTM program at Seneca would help to expand my knowledge and skills in operations, guest service, and practical skills in business such as marketing, financial analysis and accounting, and relevant computer applications.
By the time I completed my program at Seneca, I really saw a future in food and beverage operations but felt that I could benefit from more theoretical knowledge. The degree pathway to RRU only required an additional year of study - it was the best option for me.
When I finished my Masters, I already had four years of relevant work experience under my belt. I wanted to become an expert in the field, was interested in research, and keen to possibly teach or enter academia in some capacity.
What are your plans for the future – short-term and long-term?
Currently, my focus is to seek out growth opportunities that will help me to develop in my career as an educational administrator and hospitality instructor. I am planning to pursue adult education courses to enhance my knowledge as a practitioner since the majority of my professional experience has been from industry and focused on operations.
Long term, I am considering pursuing my PhD. I aspire to become an Academic Director at a world-renowned university or college one day, but as a backup plan, I may consider opening my own business – a restaurant where I would be able to apply both my hospitality and teaching skills.