Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) has been named as one of the world’s top universities, according to the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings. In this interview, Dr. Dominic Szambowski, SHMS Dean, shares his thoughts on this amazing achievement.
The QS World University Rankings by Subject, released March 3rd by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, names the world’s best universities for the study of 51 academic disciplines. Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) ranked 4th in 2021 for the study of Hospitality & Leisure Management. SHMS has consistently ranked in the top 10 schools for the past five years and was ranked 5th in 2020. The full rankings can be found here.
How do you explain SHMS’s ranking this year?
The QS is very competitive, but there has been a high-performance team operating at SHMS for a number of years now. We are a contemporary hospitality school and very achievement-oriented for our students. That means that the faculty and staff are focused on the details and never take anything for granted. They tweak and fine-tune curricula to ensure that the student experience improves. This excellent ranking comes as a result of daily hard work, service, and dedication to our students.
At SHMS, we aim to provide all our students with practical, hands-on experiences, representative of real-life in the hospitality industry, and this had to be quickly modified to meet the government requirements around social distancing.
How did your school continue to ensure that the quality of education was not altered when classes moved online?
At SHMS, we aim to provide all our students with practical, hands-on experiences, representative of real-life in the hospitality industry, and this had to be quickly modified to meet the government requirements around social distancing. Students have to dress for class, black screens are discouraged, and a certain exacting comportment is expected at all times.
We have great lecturers, who realized that they had to keep it fresh. Lesson preparation is a must but when you love your job (like our lecturers do) this is not an onerous task. Class-time activities have to be planned and executed with a constant check on how the virtual activity fosters learning.
We had a couple of teacher-training sessions early on, but most were already used to this environment. Those that needed a lift were supported by their peer faculty members – so getting up to a quality speed and rhythm was attained. Again the dedication of staff shone through.
You hear a lot about “Zoom Fatigue” and other negative buzzwords, but in the end, resilience kicks in as the situation will always need to be managed with the excellence that our students demand.
What positive changes has COVID-19 brought to the school?
From a human perspective: the need to engage your neighbor and check on their mental well-being as well as physical.
It also has made the students think tangentially and in a solution-oriented manner. They are thrust into working out how the industry will deal positively with the future through more contactless check-ins, robotics, and other innovative approaches. They realize the shift from hotel-centric security concerns to customer-centric health and sanitation needs and how new systems and processes might reinforce safety and minimize interactions.
What are you the most proud of?
Innovative and creative actions such as:
Stay humble, work hard, and fine-tune, whilst embracing the energy that our inquisitive student body brings to the classroom every day.
What is planned to maintain or surpass this excellence?
Stay humble, work hard, and fine-tune, whilst embracing the energy that our inquisitive student body brings to the classroom every day. We need to continue to embrace the industry and our alumni for guidance. It’s the SHMS network of professionals that makes the difference in the end – there is nothing like it.
QS Quacquarelli Symonds is the world’s leading provider of services, analytics, and insight to the global higher education sector. The QS World University Rankings portfolio, inaugurated in 2004, has grown to become the world’s most popular source of comparative data about university performance. Their flagship website, https://www.topuniversities.com – the home of their rankings – was viewed 147 million times in 2020, and over 98’000 media clippings pertaining to, or mentioning, QS were published by media outlets across the world in 2020.
The rankings provide an authoritative comparative analysis on the performance of 14’435 individual university programs, taken by students at 1’452 universities which can be found in 86 locations across the world, across 51 academic disciplines and five broad Faculty Areas. More methodological information can be found at https://www.topuniversities.com/about-qs