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Omar Ali (Bobby)

Melbourne Polytechnic graduate Omar Ali took a risk leaving Bangladesh to study hospitality in Melbourne.

Luckily it paid off. After finishing the Diploma of Hospitality, he went on to study Melbourne Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Hospitality Management, graduating top of his class after just 18 months. He’s now completing a master’s degree at Victoria University.

For Melbourne Polytechnic graduate Bobby Ali, a career in hospitality seemed almost inevitable. Back home in Bangladesh, his grandfather established the country’s first five-star hotel, the Hotel Agrabad in Chittagong, and Bobby is the third generation of his family to work in the industry. “It suits me because I’m a real people person and I tend to get along with people. You have to be very charming all the time.”

Despite this, it took him a few years to decide what he wanted to do. Before moving to Australia, Bobby completed an Advanced Diploma of Computer Science in Malaysia. “I didn’t have much fun studying computer science. I wasn’t interested in it.” When he found out about the Diploma of Hospitality at Melbourne Polytechnic, he had a sixth sense it might be right for him. “It was a risk I had to take, but as soon as I started I liked everything.”

After he finished the diploma, Bobby went on to complete Melbourne Polytechnic’s Bachelor of Hospitality Management. “I didn’t want to move anywhere else to study. I thought I would be at home here.” Thanks to credits from his diploma and a willingness to take on extra subjects, Bobby finished his degree in 18 months, graduating top of his class last year. He is now studying for a Masters in Hospitality Management at Victoria University. “I’m one of the youngest guys there. There are a lot of knowledgeable people who’ve worked in the industry for 15 or 20 years, so the competition is tough.”

He says studying at Melbourne Polytechnic helped to build his confidence and give him a good grounding in the industry. “The lecturers were outstanding. They gave you personal time whenever you wanted help with assignments. That was very important for me. They were never too busy for us.”

Bobby started working in the hospitality industry as soon as he arrived in Melbourne, working as a night porter at the Hotel Albany in Toorak and a front desk clerk at the Albert Heights Apartments in East Melbourne. The diploma covered everything from reservations systems to restaurant service and law. “There were plenty of practical subjects in the diploma course. It helped in real life and we could apply it in our degree.”

The 28-year-old plans to apply for a job as a lecturer at Melbourne Polytechnic when he finishes his masters, before eventually moving home to work in the family business. “I’d really like to work as a lecturer. I remember how it felt when I arrived three years ago from another country. Maybe I can set a good example for them.”


Bachelor of Hospitality Management