After Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna announced that their vaccines for Covid-19 were more than 90% effective, stock markets soared globally – unsurprisingly including airlines and hospitality brands, marking the confidence the public has with the return of these industries. Despite being hard hit during the pandemic, shares of airlines like United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have surged as investors expect a return to air travel, with a likelihood of seeing real revenue rebound by next summer. Hotels – particularly the largest US chains like Hilton and Marriott – have also held up very well.
However, hospitality is more than just about flying to places or staying at hotels – other sectors that prioritise “people first” – like luxury products, real estate, food, and the service industry – have also rebounded strongly. Case in point: Airbnb’s stocks more than doubled in value when it listed, and the third quarter of this year was actually Airbnb’s most profitable ever.
This underlines the fact that even if it seems bad, this pandemic is not permanent – people’s desire to travel, experience new things, and generally live their best life, is. This also means that now’s a good time to start getting into the industry if you want to ride the wave once confidence and demand in travel and hospitality not only return, but surge due to post-Covid fatigue.
Getting into the hospitality industry
Getting a foot in the door is no easy feat when unemployment is at a historic high due to the pandemic, but those with the right qualifications, training, and connections will have an advantage. Especially if it’s a qualification from EHL (Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne) – a recognised Swiss University of Applied Science that’s ranked as the best Hospitality University in the world, according to the QS Top Universities ranking in 2020.
When it comes to job searches, you’ve probably heard the saying “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” With over 125 years of experience, EHL has many faculty members and alumni that continue to work in the hotels and restaurants, so you don’t only learn both the theory and practice of hospitality from seasoned professionals at the top of their game, you’ll also have a strong and supportive network of professionals to help you land your dream job anywhere in the world. EHL’s powerful worldwide alumni network is also where students can seek advice and opportunities. In addition, top companies are constantly looking for top-tier talent from EHL, thanks to the close links the school has with top companies throughout the world.
Finding employment isn’t the only way to succeed in the world of hospitality – 25.8% of EHL’s alums find themselves establishing their own businesses or landing top CEO/executive roles, while another 22.4% have risen to the top tiers of their professions as senior managers.
This just shows that EHL graduates have the drive, skills, and knowledge to obtain high-level positions in their chosen fields.
What makes EHL grads sought after?
EHL prioritises teaching students to understand how the industry works – all students start with a ground-up education in hospitality before tackling the management component. Unlike many hospitality management courses, EHL places a huge emphasis on business education alongside building the hospitality know-how and soft skills to help students enter the market.
One of the key ways to get students immersed in hospitality and equip them well for a career is through internship experiences – and EHL has two. There’s the Operational Internship in Year 1 to learn everything from front desk operations to kitchen services, and then there’s the Administrative Internship in Year 3 where students will develop more business acumen with aspects like Sales, Marketing, Revenue Management, Human Resource, and more.
These experiences not only reinforce classroom knowledge and build critical skills that pad a resumé, they also allow students to build their own professional network.
Even after this crisis, the hospitality industry may face other big challenges in the future, just like in any other industry. Therefore, being successful is not just about the “profitability” of the industry you’re in – what’s critical to survival and staying competitive is your own ability to react quickly, innovate, and stay relevant, and that’s the kind of soft skill that EHL prides itself on imparting.
How are EHL’s courses structured?
There are 2 specialised pathways to EHL’s 4-year Bsc in International Hospitality Management: academic and professional. Both cover everything from operations to key management tools, business strategy, and planning – basically teaching you how to run a hospitality business from the ground up, but in very different styles.
The popular academic pathway is split between its campuses in Switzerland and Singapore. Students based in the Singapore Campus will take their first semester in Lausanne before finishing their remaining 3 years in Singapore, while students based in the Lausanne Campus will take all 4 years in Lausanne, with opportunities to do an exchange in Passugg or Singapore; in both cases, students will be bouncing worldwide on internships for two semesters. This pathway is ideal for those who thrive in a dynamic university environment with group assignments and internships.
The professional pathway, on the other hand suits those seeking a deeper physical immersion and who are passionate about the culinary arts, communication, and hotel management. Where students will learn at the hotel-resort setting at Passugg before finishing their final semester at the Lausanne campus.
How to apply
The need for hospitality and its people-oriented culture will never go away, and will even rebound in the near future. Take advantage of being at the cusp of a hospitality boom by planning for an education that will get you there by checking out EHL’s website.