EHL Senior Recruitment Manager, Louise Pitcher, shares with us the most frequently asked questions that prospective EHL Bachelor students are likely to enquire about during their first round of research into this renowned 'BOSC' program.
The EHL Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management has been the jewel in the school's crown since 1893 and an BSc accredited degree by the Swiss government HES-SO for over 20 years. Known for its hands on, practical approach where academic theory is tightly married to industry savoir-faire, it is a degree program that boasts high employability and many transferable skills.
Here's a collection of FAQs that our EHL Admissions and Recruitment officers have to be ready to answer the most often.
1. Why is work experience important?
No minimum prior work experience is explicitly required – but some is recommended since it shows you’ve gained a few industry insights of your own before starting on the hospitality bachelor journey. General life experience is equally highly valued and can often make up for any lack of direct work experience. To get through the selection process you need to demonstrate your passions, interests, what you’ve done in your life that has had an impact on you – and has made an impact on others.
Dedication, perseverance, enthusiasm for the sector, teamwork – all these elements are sought after in order to enrich classroom dynamics and discussions. Undoubtedly, you need the grades as part of the academic requirements, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the admission’s process is a holistic approach where grades and life experience are both weighed up. Showing what you can bring to the school, your competences and ambitions are all part of the process.
2. How is the degree assessed?
The BOSC program tends to include more group projects than exams, but exams are certainly present. There is an emphasis on a continuous assessment style that features mid-term exams, end of semester exams, presentations and regular quizzes (that help to pick up extra points). A typical homework assignment would be to go and build an imaginary company, find the staff, design the concept, work within a team, negotiate specific deals - in brief, learning through doing.
The aim is to continuously monitor students’ progress – rather like in real life where one’s progress in the job is regularly assessed with objectives and project deadlines. This keeps the mind fresh and consolidates knowledge. The idea is also to relieve the pressure from just one final end of year exam which might not suit certain learner profiles.
3. Can I study at all three EHL campuses?
EHL has three campuses: Lausanne, Passugg and Singapore, and student mobility during the four-year period is postively encouraged. EHL prides itself on offering as many different life, work and study experiences as possible. Students can create their own international learning journey. For example, everyone has to start their preparatory year at the Lausanne campus, but after that, the internships can be anywhere in the world, and for certain BOSC years students can benefit from mobility options between the EHL campuses.
There are numerous à la carte options. EHL's BSc in International Hospitality Management is far from being a one-size fits all degree program. It's more useful to see the learner journey as a rich 'buffet' where the variety of campuses, internships, elective courses and committees bring a personalized dimension to the overall program. Course guidance is readily available to advise students on how to structure their bachelor experience, including which language and geographical setting might be the best suited to them, their needs and ambitions.
4. Why are there two internships?
Internships happen in the preparatory year and then in year 2 of the BOSC program. They are both very personalized, and much consideration goes into the decision-making process so that maximum value is derived from this working experience, e.g., not only gaining professional insights, but also learning another language and culture.
The 1st internship can be anywhere in the world but tends to be very structured, based on specific functions like customer service, front of house, problem-solving, usually in an events, hotel or restaurant context. The 2nd internship is often more industry specific and at a slightly higher level, e.g., if a student is curious about working in another sector, this could be the time to aim for a role in a watch-making company, a luxury brand or an investment bank. Students are encouraged to choose what industry partners they'd like to work with. Geography, function and industry sector are unlimited. Both internships require a full-time working contract.
Lastly, all students are offered professional guidance by the EHL Internships and Career Services to help with the interview preparation, CV writing and general professional advice.
5. Why study Hospitality Business and not just Business?
By choosing to study hospitality business at EHL, a student grows both academically AND professionally at the same time. The program pays close attention to the importance of practical hands on experience, not just academic theory. Here, studying is translated into real life action. On one hand, there are industry-related Student Business Projects which require thorough fieldwork research and analysis in the final year; on the other hand, there’s the emphasis on highly sought-after soft skills like communication, empathy, negotiation, problem-solving and agile thinking.
For those who envisage a career in a people-centric business sector, learning the art of human interaction is a must. Knowing how to create an exceptional and memorable guest experience is what forms the backbone of the EHL spirit and sets us aside from our competitors. It’s the can-do attitude that is imparted to all students upon arrival, it’s going that extra mile which becomes second nature to securing service and management excellence. Industry acumen as well as highly developed soft skills is the formidable mix that comes from studying hospitality business.
6. Can the EHL degree be applied to other industry sectors?
The BOSC program not only teaches key insights into how to run a business - but it also focuses on all parts of a business, e.g., revenue management, design concepts, HR, branding and marketing. The bachelor course is especially structured to help students grow academically and professionally via very practical industry-related case studies, networking relations, a variety of industry-led masterclasses and presentations by the experts.
In their final year, students have six weeks dedicated to studying elective courses. They can choose 3 out of 20 short course study options, mostly based on industry-specific niches ranging from business ethics to decision making techniques. These courses often help learners fine-tune their future professional direction. Not all EHL graduates go into the F&B/hospitality industry, many branch off into totally different sectors like finance, marketing, healthcare, wine investment, events management, innovation start-ups and luxury - to name but a few.
Worth mentioning are the EHL Mentorship program, EHL Alliance and the EHL Alumni network, also known as the EHL Family. Literally a family for life, where an abundance of activities and networking opportunities are constantly on offer for forging professional ties across many industry sectors.
7. Who’s the ideal candidate for a bachelor at EHL?
Our BOSC candidates are truly varied on a cultural, social and geographical level, (over 120 nationalities!) If anything were to define the EHL Bachelor profile, it would be a can-do attitude armed with curiosity and endurance; an idea-led person who wants to contribute to the community and wants to make a difference. There's also a certain level of humility that's required during the degree course, e.g., being ready at 5.30 am to bake bread, serve a coffee and clean a bathroom. A willingness to learn and adapt is essential to a successful learner profile.
The EHL Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management program gives students the opportunity to specialize and customize their degree learning journey. It offers a rare multi-campus experience where undergraduates can spend time studying in a variety of campuses, as well as choose internships abroad. The bachelor experience is not confined to the classroom (approx. 60%). Rather, the time spent being part of committees, student life, internships and commitment to the EHL community in general is what really makes the difference. By being part of an event or a committee, students gain the short term benefits of learning how to organize a team; the long term benefits are expanding their network and practical know-how. Many see studying at EHL as a networking opportunity from start to finish - and this is not too far from the truth!
EHL aims to be an educational conduit that helps with the building of any professional persona. To unleash the potential in all our students is the school's primary goal, instilling the values of Excellence, Family, Respect, Learning, Innovation, as well as ethics, solidarity, professionalism, flexibility and empathy. As previously stated, it's a family for life attitude where mentorship programs, career support and alumni network work hand in hand with EHL faculty in the development of the individual, both professionally and personally.
A word from our Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program