Hospitality Industry
4 min read

EHL's Master in Hospitality Management: Insights into the program

Dr Stefan Güldenberg, Academic Director of the recently-launched MiHM program, shines the spotlight on the distinguishing features of this new EHL master's degree and how it's the product of external industry changes and EHL's knowledge generation mindset. With a special focus on sustainability and innovation, the Master in Hospitality Management aims to promote agile, purpose-driven leaders to manage the complexities of the changing hospitality business landscape.

Dr Stefan Güldenberg on MiHM's main distinguishing features

 

1. Full ownership and expertise

MiHM stands for Master in Hospitality Management. It is an internationally recognized MSc qualification and the first EHL fully-owned Master of Science degree. Many of the EHL Graduate School programs are in cooperation with other schools which makes them very international and diverse, but here we have the chance - as with our famous Bachelor program – to have full control over the content, faculty and activities since it is a completely onsite program.

The industry is undergoing major shifts in its traditional practices, requiring a new agile mindset for sustainable innovation and design thinking business solutions. The MiHM program is a direct, proactive result of EHL successfully managing these great challenges. Along with its recent change of name to 'EHL Hospitality Business School', we want to demonstrate that we are not only no.1 in the hospitality school rankings, but also aiming to go beyond being in the top five business schools in Switzerland. This means more knowledge generation, research and development of expertise. As Academic Director, my job is to get the best experts in their respective field to teach the courses. It's no longer a question of teaching from the textbooks - we are planning to generate our own knowledge with far more up-to-date proficiency, since EHL's strong point has always been teaching from practice and research.

 

2. On-site and international

All three semesters are based on the Lausanne EHL campus (apart from the 'immersion' module when students spend time working in a professional industry context). We are very keen now for a return to onsite programs after more than two years of exclusively online teaching during the Covid pandemic.

The MiHM will really thrive from the on-site human interaction, the personal exchanges among students, the learning from each other and from the great diversity of participants. Our first intake is proving to be extremely international and varied in age and culture; our applicants are coming not just from Europe or Switzerland, but from all over the world. So it's really a case of global applications for the program, which is already a great asset to class dynamics and discussions.

 

3. The specialization track

The purpose of this Master of Science is really to specialize in an area you are already familiar with. You know what your career plans are and you'd like to develop your skills specifically in the hospitality management sector. What we are offering here are the true strengths of EHL: on campus learning amid a rich environment of human interaction and hospitality excellence, plus the important option of specializing in either hospitality, finance, real estate & consulting OR food & beverage. 

In the near future, the further development of specializations may include sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurship. For now, these three areas are very much woven into the fabric of the current program as important modules focusing on how sustainable leadership, design thinking and start-up business plans work. 

 

4. The immersion experience and thesis

The choice of your immersion work experience should be in a country that you want to work in and in an area of specific interest so that you can then use all the insights as fieldwork references for your master thesis. All professional challenges should be used as relevant material for this final piece of work. The thesis is necessary for any master of science and should be looked upon as a real piece of scientific work. For this, the MiHM program offers constant coaching and supervising from members of EHL faculty. Our learners have close access to EHL experts in the third and final ‘thesis’ semester, along with the EHL career services for guidance in choosing the right immersion experience. The career services help to research good employers where the master's topic can be connected in a fruitful way. In some cases, this can lead to future employment post-graduation.

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5. Societal innovation and sustainability

Innovation and sustainability are the major topics for the next generation, which is much more purpose driven than the previous ones. These themes are heavily reflected in the course's content structure, especially when it comes to food sustainability, product design, sustainable finance, supply chains and the entrepreneurial mindset. How will we teach all this? Well, it's through shared leadership, people's strategy, product/process innovation and business model innovation - they are all interrelated. The approach is also very linked to changes in mindsets of the managers, the employees, and above all, the customers.

Mikhail Gorbachev once famously said,"those who are late will be punished by life itself". When it comes to societal innovation, it's important to be the leaders and not those catching up. Here, I refer to digital transformation and the human-machine interaction, not simply the human-human interaction, and how this could be a helpful strategy in tackling the current labor shortage in our industry. But even more importantly, how we make our work more interesting, more upskilled and not just routine. It's important to look at machines and see how they can free our time up for more important work linked to human and customer interaction, for example.

 

 

6. Commitment to leadership

We will have also a lot of lessons about personal leadership, personal project management, personal time management and self-reflection. These areas play an implicit role in much of this master’s program where the aim is to stimulate a sense of the collective. The emphasis will be on shared leadership; the ability to work together and not think, for example, that if you're the general manager of a hotel you can do the job in an isolated and authoritarian way. This is definitely not the future. Instead, the future is more about knowing how to attract your employees and retain them. So despite the increasing complexities of life, you depend on others and learn to work with them in a constructive way.

People are talking more and more about ‘servant leadership’, but what exactly does this mean? In a nutshell, I’d say it's not about giving the correct answer, but more about asking the right questions. In doing so, you inspire your workforce. We are no longer living in a society where one has the knowledge advantage simply because one is a leader. In these volatile, changing times, no one has all the answers yet, but asking the right questions puts your focus in the right direction.

"Leading people is tough and critical. It plays a role not only in defining the strategy and structure of an organization but also in shaping a corporate culture that enables to attract and retain talent and in developing high performance teams", Leadership Course Professor, Dr Sowon Kim.

 
Written by

EHL Insights content editor

Dr Stefan Güldenberg
Written by
Dr Stefan Güldenberg

Program Director & Adjunct Professor

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MASTER IN HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT

The best step-up for a successful career in hospitality

Our Master in Hospitality Management is an internationally recognized MSc qualification. You will have a choice of two academic routes: F&B management, or hospitality finance, real estate and consulting. These routes enable you to specialize through your studies.

Our Master in Hospitality Management is an internationally recognized MSc qualification with two academic routes: F&B management, or hospitality finance, real estate and consulting.