It has been a challenging time for the hospitality industry, but as the world gradually reopens, the sector looks set to bounce back in a big, joyous way. From the Latin word ‘hospes’, meaning visitor or stranger, the notion of hospitality implies extending a welcome to travellers, offering an exceptional, personalised experience. This can relate to anything from greeting a guest in a grande dame hotel or introducing a diner to an under-the-radar restaurant, to helping a shopper in a luxury boutique or providing excellent service to a financial client. Naturally, the business that has sprung up around hospitality and the elite service industry as a whole relies heavily on human interaction, with a keen focus on introducing effortless ease into everyday life.
An institution that understands this better than any is EHL – Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne – the first Swiss hospitality management school, which has been synonymous with excellence since its inception in 1893, and has been ranked the Best Hospitality Management University in the World in the QS World University Rankings for three consecutive years. The courses at EHL combine immersion in a five-star hospitality environment with academic rigour and a strong base in management skills. Learning derives from brilliant faculty members (50 per cent of whom hold a PhD) and industry-awarded professionals, as well as work experience in an impressive array of renowned establishments around the globe.
Like a ‘hospitality business school’, EHL has a strong focus on management, finance, accounting and marketing, ensuring that students develop skills and discipline versatile enough to allow them to succeed in any industry. EHL’s Bachelor in International Hospitality Management prepares students to launch and lead businesses, imparting a meticulously planned balance of hospitality know-how and soft skills, all underpinned by scholarly endeavour and management expertise.
Lasting for four years, including a preparatory year and two sets of six-month internships, the degree includes global study options in Switzerland and Singapore, practical training in managing businesses from the ground up, Michelin-starred experiences with award-winning chefs and a Student Business Project. Throughout this special project, students get the opportunity to work on real-life challenges with global companies, including the likes of Audemars Piguet, Credit Suisse, InterContinental Hotels Group and the International Committee of the Red Cross. All of this makes for an unrivalled professional head-start and successfully broadens students’ horizons.
To attend EHL is to become part of an exclusive community of more than 4,000 students spanning 120 nationalities (84 per cent of whom speak at least three languages). The school has two campuses in Switzerland – in Lausanne and Passugg – plus a new campus in Singapore, and students can spend a semester on a different site to their base. EHL’s student training restaurant, Le Berceau des Sens, located on the Lausanne campus, is a jewel in its crown, and was the first of its kind to receive a Michelin star in Switzerland.
In an ever-evolving travel landscape, those seeking higher education in hospitality need a degree that will give them the tools to tackle any challenge, all while maintaining the central focus on the human side of any business. EHL offers this with aplomb, training students in transferable, future-proofed skills to prepare them for the hospitality industry and beyond. This means that students graduate feeling confident in leadership and business management, but also with a keen understanding of creative customer experience, which will serve them well in any sector.
Having gained these invaluable skills, EHL students enjoy a high level of employability. Around 50 per cent go on to work in managerial positions in top restaurants and hotels, while the other 50 per cent progress in a diverse range of sectors, including consulting, finance, luxury retail, real estate and even healthcare – a testament to the versatility of the courses on offer. Each student also becomes part of the 30,000-strong network of active EHL alumni, spanning 150 countries, and can attend a huge array of events and gatherings every year.
For budding professionals aged 14 to 18, the EHL Junior Academy is the ultimate introduction, offering a transformative summer business course that opens young people’s minds to the diverse career opportunities within hospitality, finance, entertainment, luxury brands and more. By acquiring a strong foundation of business knowledge in Switzerland, Singapore or online pre-university, students are not only in a strong position for future academic and professional success, but also uniquely placed to fulfil their dreams in any world.