|THREE CHEERS: Students learn the tricks of the trade at Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne; (below) the Glion Institute of Higher Education
Close your eyes and think hospitality. The first images that come to your mind are probably those of splendid hotels and restaurants. In reality though, this is only part of the picture. The business also covers travel, tourism and leisure — some of the fastest growing sectors globally, and the trend is likely to continue.
As the industry expands, hospitality graduates find themselves employed in a wider range of positions than ever before. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), London, estimates that by the year 2017 the hotel and tourism sectors will employ around 262 million people. This means that approximately 10 per cent of the world’s total employment will be generated by this industry alone.
According to the WTTC, India will be the world’s third largest tourism market by 2013. The hospitality industry in the country will see around 40 international hotel brands in the next few years.
Culture and style
All this brings us to the Mecca of hospitality education, Switzerland. The country has a number of institutes offering degrees, diplomas and certificates in hospitality management that are globally recognised. “They seem to have the right mix of the theoretical and practical aspects,” says Sushil Sukhwani, director of Edwise International, a foreign education counselling agency (www.edwiseinternational.com).
“Many hotels and other service industries around the world prefer to employ Swiss-educated managers because of their rigour, work ethos (punctuality and discipline), attention to detail and culture of hospitality,” says Sarosh Daruwalla, education counsellor and an alumnus of Les Roches International School of Hotel Management (www.lesroches.edu), Bluche. Daruwalla represents another renowned hotel management institute in Switzerland — Glion Institute of Higher Education (www.glion.edu). “Students from 85 different nationalities come here to study and work together. Apart from the tricks of the trade, they learn a foreign language too,” he adds.
In a recent survey of by Laureate Hospitality Education — a global group providing hospitality, tourism, event, sport and entertainment management education, the Glion Institute of Higher Education, Les Roches International School of Hotel Management and Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (www.ehl.ch) were ranked as the top three institutes for a career in international hospitality management.
The survey also indicated that students from Les Roches and Glion were likely to occupy the top 20 per cent of executive positions within five to 10 years of graduation.
Study in English
■ THE Cost ■
The total cost of studying at Glion and Les Roches is Rs 14 lakh
a semester. This includes tuition fee, living expenses, pick-up from
airport, and all other essential costs At other institutes, the
undergraduate course fee is Rs 6-7 lakh per annum and Rs 11-12 lakh
for postgraduate programmes. The cost of living amounts to another
Rs 5-6 lakh annually
Unfortunately, very few Indians are aware of the opportunities offered by these Swiss schools. “This is partly because many Indian students think the hotel management and tourism courses there are still taught in French and German.
But the scenario is changing and English is a medium of instruction in many top schools. There has not been much awareness of these institutes. Also, the cold climate sometimes poses a deterrent. Some of the other reasons are high fees, no scope for part-time work during study, and difficulty in getting a work permit,” says Sukhwani. “However, Switzerland is now visibly improving on these scores. The fees are more moderate than before and visa procedures easier. Internships, often more than one, are paid and there is scope for placement in top hotels,” he quickly adds.
Currently, there are 50 to 80 Indians studying at these institutes. “Well-educated managers are the basis of the highest international standards of service,” says Pimo Mazurczak, regional admission director, Glion and Les Roches. “In India, the traditional view of the hospitality sector has undergone a sea-change. We find that the Indian youth has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Such students find excellent opportunities in their own land as well as in Europe, West Asia and North America. Our graduates are much sought after in the travel, hotel, restaurant and cruise-ship sectors, as well as in large corporate houses,” he adds.
As expected, hands-on learning is the most important part of hospitality education. At Glion, this is also called crafts-based learning. This helps students develop a broad range of skills covering communication, working under pressure, organising capabilities, leadership and a strong work ethos.
Best courses, right industry interaction
Cold climate, high costs, no part-time jobs during study
The training is reinforced by one or two internships, depending on the programme. The first stint — which is usually within Switzerland — involves an operational position, in a nearby hotel, so that the teachers can see how their students are getting on.
The second can be done anywhere in the world, and is expected to be at a supervisory level. “The duration varies from four to six months. The internships are compulsory and paid. Students can earn around 2,260 Swiss francs (Rs 1,05,938) a month,” says Daruwalla.
At Les Roches, students can choose up to three internships, depending on the programme. The first is generally in the food service or rooms division, the second is in kitchen, while the third is in business administration.
Students of hospitality management typically do their internships in one or several of these departments — front office, service, kitchen, rooms division and administration. Those in sports and entertainment programmes undertake administrative internships in hotels, resorts, sports federations, event organisations, health and sports clubs, as well as the Olympic museum at Lausanne and other companies related to the Games.
Glion and Les Roches offer both bachelors and postgraduate programmes in hotel management; and event, sport and entertainment management. They also have specialisations in marketing, finance and human resources. Glion also offers an MBA programme. Postgraduate diploma courses are of one-and-a-half years, while associate degree and bachelor degree programmes are of two and three-and-a-half years, respectively. The bachelors degree course includes a one-year internship. Intake is twice a year, in January and July.
Other renowned hotel management institutes in the country include the Benedict Hotel Management School, DCT University, HTMi, Hotel Institute Montreux, and Swiss Hotel Management School. “Hotel and leisure companies visit these campuses regularly for recruitment,” says Sukhwani.
The Career Development Industry Placement Office at Les Roches helps students in their search for employment. It organises interviews, helps students prepare for them, and also advises them in making decisions.
“Each semester, over 25 top employers from around the world visit the institute to hire graduates. Although we cannot guarantee jobs for all, we have an excellent record. Around 95 per cent of our graduates have a job offer in hand on graduation day,” says Daruwalla.
No wonder then that Switzerland is so famous for its hospitality industry. And if you want to be part of this growing sector, do it Swiss style.
Sarosh Daruwalla (roches@vsnl.
Les Roches International School of Hotel Management and Glion Institute of Higher Education