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How Local Students are Preparing for Careers in Hospitality at EHL Group

While global tourism has certainly been negatively impacted over the last two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, it is sure to rebound and once again be an important driving force in Southeast Asia’s economies, eventually surpassing its previous contribution of 9% of Vietnam’s GDP.

The field will thus continue to be an appealing career for many young adults who are considering their university opportunities.

EHL Campus (Singapore).

EHL - Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Switzerland,  has been a premier hospitality management school for more than 125 years, and its continued commitment to innovation has ensured graduates are prepared for a constantly changing industry. In the past, Saigoneer met some successful EHL graduates in Vietnam who have embarked on diverse careers, including a restaurateur, the founder of an app-driven spa and wellness company, and a development manager for Hilton Hotels. We also spoke with incoming undergraduate students this past spring to learn how their course of study at EHL began. Now, we wanted to learn what happens in between enrollment and a thriving career, and how the school readies students for the real world once they receive their Bachelor degrees in International Hospitality Management.

When first asked what makes an EHL student prepared for post-graduation life, Dr. Luciano Lopez, Assistant Professor and Dean of EHL Campus (Singapore), stressed how the multi-disciplinary coursework, experiences and opportunities form the types of people they become: “thinkers, leaders, responsible citizens, humanists, life-long learners.” This is the key to success in the workplace, beyond specific courses, qualifications or tangible knowledge.

Dr. Luciano Lopez, Assistant Professor and Dean of EHL Campus (Singapore).

EHL’s courses provide a combination of theoretical and practical knowledge that is augmented by experiential learning, helping to develop the soft skills and values Lopez referenced. Recent graduate Ngan Tran expressed how the many opportunities to work in a team in classroom activities and during internships were the most powerful part of her development. “I learned to understand others’ viewpoints and listen to others, and I also learned to become more assertive with my opinions. I will never forget this saying, ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,’” she shared.

Ngan and her dance team.

Being able to cooperate and collaborate as part of a team has been vital in Ngan’s current role as a hospitality analyst in the asset management department at a major hotel in Dubai. In addition to her two semesters spent completing internships in the field, her success also necessitated academic courses in financial accounts, hotel management, corporate finance, and real estate finance as part of EHL’s Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management. Such a balanced experience is emblematic of EHL’s belief that a complete education requires experiential, practical and theoretical knowledge. 

Student Business Projects (SBPs) represent another way in which EHL prepares its students for a career immediately after graduation. In their final year, all pupils have the option to work with major businesses and corporations on a problem-solving project. Lopez described it as: “a vital organ of our experiential learning system, in a way that will continue to grow in the coming years. At the end of their bachelor program, the students are asked to deliver work on a real-life case, which provides them with invaluable insights on the current challenges within the industry.”

 

Many of the students who work on the projects are then hired by those companies, which include Audemars Piguet, Credit Suisse, InterContinental Hotels Group and The International Cross. The network of SBP participants is just one of many formal and informal connections the school has that help students get a headstart in their careers. After more than a century, the alumni network now consists of 30,000 members in 120 different countries, and one in three EHL graduates get their first jobs thanks to this network. Moreover, the school offers professional career coaching and network development services, has a committed Industry Relations department, and a twice-annual career fair that connects students with nearly 500 employers they’ve developed relationships with.

Though EHL is more focused on its subject matter than some liberal arts universities, it still offers the social and extracurricular opportunities that help one grow outside of the classroom. An energetic campus is filled with clubs and organizations that help young adults grow as individuals. Ngan, for example, was a part of the school’s food committee, Like Eat. She was also a member of the EHL Fete Universelle dance group, which allowed her to showcase her native culture via Vietnamese dresses and fan dances. “I felt like it was my honor to represent my home country as everyone enjoyed it,” she reflects fondly.

While Dr. Lopez was easily able to offer up a long list of EHL graduates working in Vietnam at hotels, resorts, restaurants and learning companies, as important as the title beside their names is the type of people they become in their four years at the university. Not only are they prepared for diverse, top-level jobs throughout the world, but they have the soft skills and interests to make a positive impact in the world.

Learn more about EHL’s Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management

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+41 21 785 11 11

Route de Cojonnex 18, 1000 Lausanne 25, Switzerland

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