CS Lim is the Finance Director of LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort and he is also the National Vice Chairman of the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), Malaysia, who has played a major role in representing the state and highlighting hospitality issues on the central level. We had a little chat with him about his background and inspiration for new entrants into the hospitality industry.
I have 24 years of hospitality tucked under my belt and although a certified Accountant, I ended up in the excitement of the hospitality industry! It could be when I joined a boutique hotel chain based in Hong Kong as Regional Internal Auditor that took me travelling from Australia to French Polynesia; or the part of my duties that required sitting at the bar with a drink to observe the staff members and ensure procedures are complied with; the good life stuck and I realised there should be more to my chosen career.
I clipped my wings and settled back in Kuala Lumpur where I decided to tackle the hospitality industry with Gusto! From Financial Controller to Regional Financial Controller which opened my exposure to international standards in hotel management, policies, procedures and best practices, and then later to my stint at another international hotel company that moved me out from the Finance discipline into Operations and Procurement.
Here I am – and for two years now, I have been with LEGOLAND to oversee both the theme park and hotel.
I joined the industry by chance! All set to start a new job in a tobacco company when I received a call out of the blue to attend an interview for an exciting job that required travelling. Being young and adventurous, seeing the world that comes with the job was a dream come true. Lady Luck smiled on me as I realised that the interviewer was someone I knew and landed the job immediately, and I never looked back since.
Relate ONE example of an incident that made you feel that being a hotelier is the right job for you?
On my first day of joining the hotel industry, I noticed that people in the workplace were so friendly, approachable and helpful, and I immediately felt so at home and liked the industry. It’s a “people industry” and you deal, meet and interact with people, and not with machines or virtual reality!
What do you see as the future for a career in hospitality in Johor?
The sky is the limit for a hospitality career in Johor. And especially when one is young like I was when I started out, it is an interesting option when you love to meet people, travel and be creative in your work.
Johor is one of the fastest growing states in Malaysia especially in the vibrant Iskandar region and upcoming Desaru Coast. Now is the time when you can choose to grow – be it at the beach or golf resort, a luxurious boutique hotel or in a special concept hotel along the lines of LEGOLAND or The Hard Rock. The potential is endless.
In your current position, how can you ensure that there is a way forward for those wanting to venture into the industry and through your own hotel?
I can say for certain that with the right attitude and passion, LEGOLAND has plenty of opportunities. There are openings in the Kitchen, F&B services, Housekeeping, Front Desk and Administrative departments such as Human resources, Sales and Finance.
I have seen Management Trainees develop into heads of their own areas such as Chief of Concierge, Chef, F&B Director, Rooms Division Manager, Executive Housekeeper, Finance Director, and Human Resources Manager who graduated to become General Managers and Regional Vice Presidents.
What are your personal words of encouragement for new entrants into the industry?
Persevere and NEVER GIVE UP on your goals and ambitions. Behind every hard knock there is a gold nugget (not a lump!) of knowledge learned. Always remember the truth in the saying that “bersusah dahulu, bersenang kemudian (work hard first and enjoy later).”
There is no short cut to success and always be passionate, strive and you will achieve your rewards!