Institutions need to create international synergies, design a globally-focussed curriculum and adopt innovative teaching methods, says Christine Demen Meier, Managing Director at Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, Switzerland.
Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, Switzerland recently launched a scholarship competition in Mumbai for the Les Roches MBA in Global Hospitality Management, in partnership with the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) titled the ‘Next General Manager of India’. Through this competition, the institute will award the winner a full scholarship to study at Les Roches’ MBA in Global Hospitality Management programme in Switzerland, followed by a fast-track development program at an IHCL hotel.
To head this launch, Christine Demen Meier, Managing Director, Les Roches Global Hospitality Education, Switzerland, made a brief visit to Mumbai and shared her thoughts on how hospitality education should evolve with changing times. Below is an excerpt from the interview.
How was your visit to Mumbai?
Apart from the event, I had the opportunity to discover a little bit of the lively city of Mumbai and connect with our vibrant alumni community. It was exciting to see so many young graduates successfully shaping the industry, either with Indian hotel companies, by joining their family businesses or launching their own ventures. As part of itinerary, we were invited to visit Sulochanadevi Singhania School in Thane, a leading institution in Western India, where I had the pleasure to address a group of schoolchildren and explain the opportunities to study and work in the global hospitality industry.
What are the effects of these gaps that hotels (and in turn guests) experience?
To deal with this influx of visitors from abroad, it is vital for hospitality professionals to gain international exposure and experience to better cater to the needs of these discerning guests and offer the service standards they have come to expect. This requires institutions to create international synergies, design a globally-focussed curriculum and adopt innovative teaching methods. Local institutes of hotel management under the National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) are doing their best to keep up with the demand.
How is Les Roches bringing in innovation when it comes to education in this segment?
In order to give students a truly global experience, our MBA program features two business field trips where students spend one week each in Chicago and Shanghai, witnessing the application of strategy and innovation at leading properties in the most dynamic regions, while interacting with industry leaders. In addition, we offer bachelor students the opportunity to transfer between Les Roches campuses in Switzerland, Spain and China.
Les Roches offers a unique selection of specialised courses enabling students to develop an innovative approach to problem-solving and an entrepreneurial mindset. Our new Digital Marketing specialisation immerses students in the latest trends in technology and content creation, while the Entrepreneurship stream enables students to master skills including market research, financial forecasting and business pitching.
Sustainability is an important topic in the industry and for me personally. In 2018, we inaugurated farm-to-table, fine-dining restaurant Roots, which serves as a practical arts training centre for students and reflects Les Roches’ commitment to teaching students about sustainability in hospitality. We have a strong ambition of encouraging sustainable initiatives in the hospitality sector and are creating an annual sustainability event on our campus in Switzerland.
What kind of trends do you expect to see in the hospitality sector in India?
Indian consumers are very tech-savvy, so I expect to see more innovation in the digital space, from new booking platforms to food delivery by drone or co-working spaces with AR/VR functionalities. Interacting with our alumni, I realised the importance of food in the Indian society and the diversity of the food and beverage sector: Here we will soon see next cutting-edge technology disrupting the industry, which is the use of block-chains for food safety and traceability.
What is the level of service you have experienced in hotels in India?
I was fortunate to stay at the Taj Mahal Palace and delighted to experience this beacon of Indian hospitality, effortlessly combining international luxury amenities with Indian traditions, such as receiving a bindi upon check-in and the complimentary footbath in the room.