World’s Leading Hospitality School Pitches Global Programme and Wellness Management to Indian Students
WHEN the global market research company, TNS, surveyed the top hiring managers of the international hospitality industry in 2013, Les Roches figured among the world’s leading three hotel management schools. It is hugely popular among Indians because unlike its competition, the venerable École Hôtelière de Lausanne, Les Roches is an English-medium institution located in the Alpine countryside of French-speaking Switzerland.
Another reason for its popularity here is that Les Roches lets you study simultaneously for a BBA degree and then get an MBA in Hospitality, specialising in either Finance or Marketing. And since 2014, to cater to the increasingly global nature of careers in the hospitality industry, Les Roches has flagged off a BBA programme in Global Hospitality Management, whose students travel as a class from Switzerland to Marbella and Shanghai.
Of the 88 nationalities represented on the Les Roches campus at Bluche, a few minutes away from the famous skiing and golf resort, Crans-Montana, Indians rank No. 2 after the Chinese. Actor Priyanka Chopra’s brother, who now runs a nightclub in Pune, is an alumnus; so are Bollywood singer Alka Yagnik’s daughter, Gulati’s Spice Market owners Sumit and Chiquita Gulati, Joost founder Rivoli Sinha, and Indian Accent’s founder-manager Samrat Banerjee.
Unsurprisingly, Sonia Tatar, CEO, Les Roches Worldwide, and Director General, Les Roches Switzerland, describes India as an “exciting and important market”. A former senior executive with Euro Disney, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Hyatt Regency, who has also served in global leadership positions at the French business school, INSEAD, Tatar was in New Delhi not long ago and she couldn’t miss what she calls the “Indian touch to hospitality”.
“You feel it the moment you arrive at your hotel and are welcomed at the main entrace,” she said. “They doormen know your name and instantly make you feel at home.” Indians therefore are on top of Tatar’s wish list for Les Roches, which now has campuses in Marbella (Spain), Shanghai (China) and Amman (Jordan — Royal Academy of Culinary Arts).
“I have come here to let students know about the opportunities they get when they study hospitality management at Les Roches,” Tartar said. “They become mobile not only mentally and intellectually, but also physically.” Of course, they get to study on one of the world’s most scenic campuses. The Les Roches swimming pool, which features in the Guinness Book for fitting in the largest number of nationalities, overlooks the Alps – it can’t get better than that.
But Tatar didn’t come to New Delhi to celebrate the scenery. She was here to talk about the new additions to the Les Roches repertoire. You can now go to Les Roches and attend a course in innovation and sustainability – it is a part of the BBA programme. Les Roche students, in fact, have successfully rolled out a plan to make the Swiss air show carbon free.
You could also specialise in wellness, which has become a $3.2 trillion global enterprise, its size nearly twice as big as India’s economy. “We have partnered with ESPA, the European Spa Association, and Genolier, the Swiss medical network that owns a hotel where patients get high-end treatment with equivalent hospitality,” Tartar said.
Education at Les Roche is all about making yourself industry-ready, which explains why its academic programmes are split equally between classroom work and industrial training in some of the world’s best hotels. Recruiters at Les Roche include Marriott International, Hyatt Corporation, Startwood, Hilton Worldwide, Accor, Bloomberg and Booking.com.
And to give its students a head-start in the international employment market, Les Roches has a careers department that helps students draft their resumes, update their LinkedIn profiles, and pitch for internships and job opportunities at least two times in a year. More than 100 companies come to conduct job interviews each year on the three Les Roches campuses.
“Hospitality is all about lifting your hands and doing the job yourself,” Tartar said. It is for this reason Les Roches believes in “getting the right people with the right mindsets and the right competencies”. As the tete-a-tete draws to a close, I ask Tatar to define the characteristics of a successful hospitality professional. She does it with three words: Mobility, Flexibility and Adjustability. Indeed, the hospitality professional today is the citizen of a seamless world.
This article first appeared in the Education Mail section of Mail Today on April 15, 2015. Copyright: Mail Today Newspapers