How three of our alumni used hospitality as a gateway to other industries
Dynamic and multifaceted, the hospitality sector includes a variety of industries including accommodation, food and beverage, travel, event management, etc. At the core of any hospitality enterprise, however, is the desire to create a unique and unforgettable experience in which people feel valued, welcomed, and cared for, whether it be in a hotel, at an event or during a meal. This opens up a variety of career pathways in hotels, restaurants, medical centres/hospitals, catering and event management, airlines, cruise ships, theme parks, senior living, wellness and spa operations, and others. However, the mindset and skills acquired during hospitality management studies and applied during subsequent work placements, also prove themselves to be highly valuable in industries outside of the hospitality sector. Here are some reasons why:
1. The value of a hospitality mindset across careers
Hospitality is centred on the customer: how they are welcomed, what their experience is, and the relationship that is cultivated through that experience. This mindset underlies all the programs and courses offered by Swiss Education Group schools.
Learning how to welcome guests to our place of business, is an essential part of practical service classes at our schools. Once welcomed, it is then key to offer customers a unique experience. Designing the optimal customer experience (CX) results in customers wanting to come back for more and telling others about their experience.
I studied hospitality, of course, I can do this!
SHMS Swiss Hotel Management School alum Malvin Hartwell now works in the luxury retail sector. “When I first hosted a client at Louis Vuitton, I poured the champagne how I would at a five-star hotel. The store manager looked at me and asked me how I knew how to do that, to which I replied, ‘I studied hospitality, of course, I can do this!’ Things like body language, the way we stand, the way we talk, these are things we cultivated early on in school. My hospitality education gave me immense exposure and an edge when I joined the workforce.”
Finally, at the heart of hospitality is the importance of building long-lasting relationships, something we also encourage across all of our courses. Emphasising a long-term focus rather than a short-term win means that customers will return, which is far more profitable in the long run. This is why topics such as customer care and networking are also covered in our courses. "Hospitality is a great asset to working in the field of marketing because you learn to understand people", reflects Nina Sophie Nest, a graduate of HIM Hotel Institute Montreux, now a growth hacking expert for a Swiss insurance company.
If one considers how hospitality is structured around these three elements, the welcome, the customer experience, and the relationship, it is easy to see that this is what really drives any business, regardless of the industry. "Our students are able to apply this mindset to any business, once they have taken into account the specifics of that sector", says Max Behesht, Lucerne Dean of César Ritz Colleges Switzerland.
This mindset, taught and perfected throughout all schools at Swiss Education Group, gives graduates an added advantage in the professional world.
2. A wide range of specializations
Another reason a hospitality education can lead to a variety of careers, both within the hospitality industry and further afield, is the possibility to tailor a degree with specialisations or electives. At HIM Hotel Institute Montreux for example, second year bachelor students can choose to specialise in Financial Analysis & Wealth Management, Human Resource Management, Luxury Brand Management, or Management for the Senior Living Industry. César Ritz Colleges Switzerland offers electives such as international business, entrepreneurship or global e-commerce.
All of our program develop business to customer and business to business skills within an international context
"Hotels are service-oriented, but after all a hotel is still a business to run, especially when there are so many hotel brands out there to compete with. To climb the management ladder, I think it is important to be equipped with a business mindset very early on," remarked Hotel Institute Montreux alum Charlie Chan, now a pilot for Cathay Pacific Airways
Within their final year of studies, students are also prepared for a multitude of careers through course topics such as management of informational technologies, organisational behaviour and leadership, digital marketing, retail management for luxury brands, interior design, financial analysis and wealth management, business law, international politics, environmental science, nutrition, health & special diets, cultural diversity in organisations, and advanced consumer behaviour.
Now a violinist, DJ, and music producer Yustin Ko, a Swiss Hotel Management School alumn, stated that classes such as marketing, financial accounting, and business communication, allowed him to have a better grasp of marketing strategies and coming up with a viable business plan for him to develop his music career.
3. Transferable skills
Schools at Swiss Education Group teach students ‘life skills for professionals, professional skills for life’, relevant in hospitality and beyond. Most companies are now looking for well-rounded employees with relevant soft skills such as language and communication skills, conflict management, team building, negotiating, and emotional intelligence.
"Teamwork in an international environment, being mindful of different cultures, and most importantly communicating with people and empathising with their situations, are skills that I picked up working in hotels, which is very relevant to disaster relief management," said V.R. Hari Balaji, who became training expert in disaster relief management after graduating from SHMS.
Careers outside the hospitality industry where the transferable life skills of graduates combined with their business acumen has proven successful.
“The passion, perseverance, and sleepless nights entrepreneurs put into building successful companies is very similar to the training I gained studying and working in hospitality. The interpersonal and communication skills I developed have also helped me in managing projects effectively”, shares César Ritz Colleges Switzerland alum Tharun Anto who founded a project management company that implements cleantech projects in India.
HIM alum Shyamla Nath is the CEO of Women’s India Trust –an NGO that empowers underprivileged women in India, by providing them with easy access to education, vocational skills training, and employment. She shares some wise words: “Always have a positive attitude. Keep your mind, eyes and ears open and you will find opportunities towards building your passions.”
Choosing a career path can be daunting. A degree in hospitality management gives students the confidence to know that they have valuable knowledge and practical skills that are attractive to any employer. The time spent at one of our schools gives students many opportunities to explore what it is they are passionate about and to turn that passion into a career.