Abdullah Vural - President of Business Development & Global Mobility
As the newly appointed President of Business Development and Global Mobility at Alliance Abroad Group (AAG), Abdullah brings nearly 30 years of hospitality experience with him to the AAG headquarters in Austin, Texas. Having shined in previous roles with Ritz-Carlton, Marriott, and Renaissance, both in the U.S. and abroad, he now sets his sights on revamping and refining the important work AAG does everyday promoting cultural exchange and uniting global citizens with forward thinking employers.
You recently joined Alliance Abroad Group after working for the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company in various capacities for almost 28 years. How did you transition into this new role in the field of international job placement?
In my career with The Ritz-Carlton recruiting has also been one of my main responsibilities: actively looking for talent, developing current talent through mentorship and training, and maintaining relationships with former colleagues. Although AAG is not a hotel, the same principles apply here. Finding great talent internationally that we can nurture and mentor for an incredible placement. We maintain constant contact with the students during their program and build long lasting friendships.
How does your management experience with the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company help you in your new role with Alliance Abroad?
In previous years, as a general manager with The Ritz-Carlton, we were a partner of AAG and I noticed very similar values between the two companies. International exchange has always been close to my heart so this was an easy transition for me.
What does an average day of work look like for you?
Fun and exciting! I of course wake early and check my phone for emails and messages. Then I arrive in the office around 8:30 a.m., greeting each one of our ladies and gentlemen to officially start our day together. As a team, our days are focused around strengthening our relationships with our students, host companies, and our partners.
Every day is about how we can learn from each other, grow together, and do better for those around us.
What do you think attracts participants to Alliance Abroad?
I think initially it’s the opportunity to work abroad, but what really attracts them to AAG is our genuine care and interest in each of them as individuals.
You are fluent in Turkish, German, and English, what do you think the biggest benefit of learning a foreign language is?
My father used to have a saying something like this “if you know one language you’re one person. But if you know many languages you have the ability to be many people.” In short, it opens doors to other cultures and can give you a more global mindset.
International exchange is the foundation of understanding each other and forging friendships with other countries that will hopefully last a lifetime
How do Alliance Abroad’s programs encourage language learning?
By studying abroad it gives the students an opportunity to immerse themselves in not only another culture, but to also gain a deeper understanding of a foreign language.
Alliance Abroad’s about us page on GoAbroad states “More than building cultural exchanges with other countries, we ensure that participants are enriched and empowered to be accomplished members of the global community,” how do you make sure this goal is manifested in each placement and destination?
We continue to engage with our students from the first point of contact through their entire program. We ensure each student gets a chance to participate in a local cultural activity with their host company as a way to experience something unique to their placement destination.
What do you think the key to Alliance Abroad’s success is?
I believe the key is to treat everyone we deal with as part of our family. We want the genuine care that we believe in to be evident in each and every interaction. As a company, we try to live by the statement “it’s not what we do, but why we do it.”
What is the biggest benefit of international work experience in your opinion?
In my opinion, from my own experience, it was about gaining friendships that you could hold onto throughout your life. The work experience was great, but the personal and cultural experience made you feel a part of a new community.
What are your goals for the Alliance Abroad Group in 2015?
To continue to ensure each student has the experience that they hope for and to exceed their expectations. We want to reach as many students as possible to share our love and passion of the exchange program.
If you could participate in an Alliance Abroad program, which one would you choose?
I would choose the Australia Abroad program. It’s an amazing opportunity for students in the U.S. to experience the diversity and beauty Australia has to offer.
Are there any new additions to the Alliance Abroad program repertoire that we can look forward to in the coming months?
We have some exciting new offerings that we’re rolling out for both students and our host companies. We’re creating a Learning Center tailored to students and how we can enhance their experience and knowledge of the business. The classes will range from introductory customer service and hospitality-based learnings to more in-depth and detailed classes on finance, leadership, etc. I’m very much looking forward to opening up the center in a new office in the Spring, which will include both webinars and in-person classes. I think this will be a game-changer to take our students to the next level