You have decided that you would like to study hospitality management. Now, how will you go about selecting the right school?
Here are some points to consider when making your choice:
1. Theory and practice
The best schools combine a top-notch academic program with plenty of opportunities to put classroom learnings into practice. Practical experience should include not only basic hotel skills like cooking, service and rooms division management, but business subjects, like accounting & finance, marketing and human resources, as well. Practical training has always been a strong point of Swiss hospitality schools.
2. A well-structured internship program
Internships are one of the most important aspects of a hotel school education, for it is there that students get the opportunity to put into practice what they have learned in the classroom or with the F & B instructor in the kitchen. Internships can often lead to future job offers once your studies are completed, as well. The school you choose should have a fully developed internship office dedicated to this activity. Another point: there should be a follow-up mechanism whereby hotel school professors or staff visit students at the hotels or restaurants where they are doing their internship. Also, the school should be carefully monitoring the enterprises where they send students to make sure that they are being well-treated and enjoying a valid learning experience.
3. Close contact with industry
Sometimes in academic institutions there is a tendency to live in an ‘ivory tour’ divorced from the facts and practicalities of the real world. That’s why it’s important that a hotel school retain strong links with the hospitality industry, as well as companies from other sectors, such as Google, for example, which can have a significant impact on the hotel sector. Industry actors can provide timely advice regarding a hotel school’s curriculum. Also key players can be invited to give presentations or to attend classes as expert guest lecturers, which can be an extremely enriching experience for students and faculty alike.
4. Multi-cultural environment
It’s important to choose a school with a student body made up of diverse nationalities and cultures, as you learn not only from the course work, but also from your fellow students who come from different countries around the world. For instance, some Swiss schools consciously limit the intake of students from certain regional or cultural backgrounds in order to maintain a healthy cultural mix in their student populations so as not allow one group to predominate. The teaching staff should also be multicultural, which can only enhance the educational experience.
5. Strong alumni network
The time spent on campus will last only several years, but the support of a strong alumni network can last a lifetime. The top Swiss schools offer graduates well-developed alumni associations with chapters worldwide. So wherever you end up working, it’s likely that there will be a local alumni group which can provide good networking opportunities that can enhance your career. For example, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne’s alumni network (AEHL) numbers some 25,000 members, located in 120 countries over all 5 continents, with 70 alumni chapters.
6. Go abroad
The multiple benefits of going abroad to study hotel management include: learning a foreign language; establishing a global network, an essential asset for progressing in the hotel industry; and develop your own self-reliance. The hospitality business is a worldwide business which requires an international perspective in order to succeed.