EHL's student consulting program supports hospitality companies and student learning outcomes.

January 31, 2020 •

3 min reading

SBP: 20 years supporting hospitality innovation

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For the last twenty years, EHL students have been honing their skills on real-world hospitality problems though the Student Business Projects or SBP program.

See how the program prepares the next generation of hospitality leadership to adapt to environmental challenges while providing business partners with solution-driven recommendations for inspired change.

What is the SBP Program?

In the SBP program, small groups of students work on real-world hospitality problems for major companies. A group of six students working for nine weeks will research the problem, create a written report outlining the methodology used, provide project-specific recommendations and other deliverables, and present the results in a formal talk, which is open to the entire campus.

The SBP program allows students to work on important issues, such as market research, sales and marketing strategy, and new concept development. A new initiative is in corporate social responsibility. With this innovative program, EHL selects one organization per semester to receive a complimentary corporate social responsibility overview.

Through the nine week program, students receive coaching and support from EHL's world-class faculty and meet regularly with business clients. These meetings allow the business partners to ask questions and benefit from the out-of-the-box thinking offered by the students while ensuring the research project does not veer off track.

Companies that have leveraged the SBP often take advantage of the opportunity to study the market, test a new concept, or develop ideas further, with the help of a team of next-generation hospitality professionals. For students, the chance to apply academic principles in creative ways to real-world problems is inspiring. Truly this is a win-win situation.

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SBP Partnerships

While the SBP program is flexible enough to meet the needs of business clients, we have noticed patterns over the 20 years since the program began. Popular projects include concept creation, event concept, hotel concept, food and beverage concept, market research, financial feasibility study, marketing and sales strategy, customer experience strategy, product development, and business plan creation.

Of the companies who elect to work with EHL students, 5 percent are academic institutions, 17 percent are in the non-profit sector, and 22 percent are startups. 18 percent of our SBP clients are small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, 18 percent are medium businesses with up to 400 employees, and the remaining 18 percent are considered big businesses with more than 400 employees.

No matter the size of the business or the needs of the client, EHL students approach the project with curiosity and drive, guided by two faculty members who can assist with any needs that arise.

Over the years, our corporate partners have included:

  • Credit Suisse
  • Six Senses
  • Richmond
  • Nespresso
  • Pernod Ricard
  • Nestle
  • Accor
  • MSC Cruises
  • Andros

To date, students have completed over 1,100 projects for more than 650 clients.

Our partners have nothing but praise for the students who have taken part in the SBP program. Clients most often respond to the high drive and creative thinking exhibited by the project teams, citing the rigorous level of research, clear passion and creative thinking, and right fit of the end result to the scope of the brief provided at the project outset.

Small businesses and startups in particular appreciate the depth of work that EHL students are able to accomplish working on the business challenge exclusively for nine weeks. Clients have mentioned that they continue to return to the project report even years after the conclusion, truly using the results as a strategic plan to guide idea development and execution.

The impact is no less great on our students. An EHL education delivers a rigorous academic immersion into hospitality best practices, and our students always love the chance to put classroom learning into perspective through immersive projects that have real-world impact. With the SBP program, students get to solve a problem for a real company applying the best practices they've learned through classroom study.

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