Insider Plus met with Ms Adrienn Ljubicic, the Cost Controller of Aquincum Hotel in Budapest, which is managed by CHI, a subsidiary of IHI. Her young and gentle looks with a slight genuine smile immediately show her a likeable person. Speaking to her fully confirms this.

Cost Controller: what would that job involve?  Ms  Ljubicic explains with a few words. “Mainly the job involves controlling and monitoring expenditures against the monthly budget. This would require working in unison with all department heads to ensure profitability and strategize ways to minimise loss.”

So what is the difference between cost control and cost reduction?  “Actually, one follows the other. Control would be my sole responsibility but reduction involves co-working hand in hand with other outlets. Decreasing the cost is a team work with  the Purchasing, F&B, Finance and all other departments.”

Do her colleagues look at her positively or negatively? In other words, do they see her as one who is interfering in their spending programme or one who is regulating or optimizing the company’s expenditure and hence profitability? Ms Ljubicic smiles and her eyes shine. “ I am sure my colleagues know that I am here to help and support them and not just to regulate them to reach the company’s goals. Everybody is here to make Aquincum Hotel a better place for our guests.”

Ms Ljubicic sounds professional and sure of herself. Surely she must have a good training background. “I obtained my Bachelor Degree in Budapest Business School in my hometown and moved on for my Master’s Degree in Switzerland in the Swiss Hotel Management School. I am glad to say that these two schools greatly enriched my knowledge of customer service.”

After her Bachelor Degree, Ms Ljubicic decided to travel to England to improve her English and worked at the Royal Automobile Club in London. “First I was a Commis Waiter.” Commis waiter? What’s that? “It means performing the most basic tasks while learning from more experienced waiters. One year later I became a Chef de Rang, that is a waiter in charge of a specific section in a restaurant, working under the head waiter. Then I was a Cocktail Bartender for two years. This place gave me a great opportunity to grow and work in a professional service environment.”

And what happened later? “After my Master’s Degree I went to Cyprus as a Management Trainee. I spent one year there, moving from one department to another to obtain an overall view of a hotel operation. In my second year I  had an opportunity to take over my colleague’s place as an F&B ( that’s Food and Beverages) Controller. This move was my first step to became a Cost Controller.”

As Cost Controller, budgets are presumably her main guiding light. Does she take them as set in stone or does she discuss and mould them further? “Budget is a target. But the way to reach it or do better is the real achievement.  Any slight thing can affect the target. To avoid disturbing elements we need to be up-to-date with every detail and there must be good communications between all department. I try to support decisions, with forecast and data.”

Any interesting stories she has experienced? “Oh yes, quite a few. Every day something interesting happens. Last year we had a strong water leak on the 4th floor from an  A/C malfunction. All the water seeped through the floors right down to the basement. Everyone was called to help and every one joined in. You should have seen us. We went upstairs and tried to press out the water from the rugs with towels and anything we found. The GM guided the big carpet cleaner and we were pouncing and dancing on the pile of towels. It was traumatic but funny at the same time. But what was important was that we were all for one and one for all.”

It seemed that there were good vibes between her and her colleagues. Ms Ljubicic nodded vigorously. “I have good relationship with everyone. In June they voted me Employee of the Month. I do all I possibly can to keep this going on.”

Uplifting of lives is an essential part of Corinthian duties and values. Ms Ljubicic is in full agreement but adds that these values do not only exist within the walls of Corinthia. “ They have to be followed also in our daily life outside work. I absolutely believe in these values.”

Does she  participate in any charitable ventures? “ I love animals. I brought a cat from a shelter, and because of this I always try to find some occasion to help them somehow.” And hobbies?  She is a movie fanatic, always adding to her ever growing collection. Her other hobby is travelling. “I love to visit different places, seeing different cultures. But I can safely say that my most exhilarating experience was in the Alps. Those gorgeous mountains with their picturesque relaxing scenery are priceless. You just do not want to leave. Another moment which exhilerates me  is when I look at the never-ending sea with the sun slowly setting in the horizon. I feel deeply aware that I am part of  nature.”

Helping colleagues is an ongoing experience which occurs almost every day. “ At one time Housekeeping needed some help in cleaning and hanging curtains. We went up with the whole Finance team to help them out immediately. When F&B was for a short while short of people I went to the bar for a few hours and  set  up tables for a banquet. It also happened once in the Kitchen when we had a last minute group and we urgently needed to prepare some sandwiches. I was there with others giving a helping hand.”

Ms Ljubicic finally took a deep breath. “ I simply love my job. I enjoy my colleagues. I am lucky to be here.”