How Swiss school EHL trains its students to face changes in hotel industry

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Published: August 5, 2019 1:40:59 AM

With its main campus in Lausanne, Switzerland, EHL provides a range of on-campus and online learning solutions, including undergraduate, graduate, certificate programmes to students from over 120 countries.

hotel, hotel industry, hotel industry india, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, Indian School of Hospitality, hospitality sector, hospitality industry, Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management degree, Swiss School of Tourism and HospitalityEHL is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and has been authorised by the Singapore government to open a campus and deliver its Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management degree.

Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), widely regarded as the best hospitality school in the world, has been training students in this field since 1893, and has over 25,000 alumni worldwide. With its main campus in Lausanne, Switzerland, EHL provides a range of on-campus and online learning solutions, including undergraduate, graduate, certificate programmes to students from over 120 countries.

EHL has also tied up with Gurgaon-based Indian School of Hospitality (ISH), which was started recently by hotelier Dilip Puri. “We work with their faculty, and provide Swiss learning methodologies, certify their diplomas and also bring our values,” says André Witschi, president of EHL’s Board of Governors.

EHL is celebrating its 125th anniversary, and has been authorised by the Singapore government to open a campus and deliver its Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management degree.

“We go where the market needs us to be, and our goal to open a campus in Singapore will allow us to remain one step ahead, understanding, shaping and stimulating the global hospitality industry, as we have been doing for over a century,” says Michel Rochat, EHL Group CEO.

Witschi supports the argument. “We are very much looking forward to establishing a strong international foothold in one of the world’s most dynamic and competitive countries. Receiving this certification is a great milestone,” he says.

At EHL, the focus is more on ‘practical’ than ‘theory’. Its Le Berceau de Sens is the first educational restaurant in Switzerland to earn a Michelin star, the ultimate culinary distinction. “Since September 2017, our kitchen is being headed by Cédric Bourassin, a star chef and a lecturer in Practical Arts. It’s an indicator we are doing things the right way,” Witschi adds.

Interestingly, EHL is able to meticulously manage the culturally-sensitive issue of serving food to over a hundred different nationalities. “A student imbibes and adopts a collaborative approach. At the end of the day, students are able to handle everything themselves. We share with them values, acceptance and tolerance, respect for others, etc,” he adds.

The group has now brought together its existing entities—EHL, Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality, and EHL Advisory Services—under the EHL umbrella. “This three-letter acronym, I must say, has become synonymous with excellence and leadership. Rebranding is also in sync with our long-term expansion strategy and reflective of our integrative approach. It will further strengthen our position as the world’s leading hospitality management education group,” he says.

Back in 1893, Jacques Tschumi, an influential member of the Society of Swiss Hoteliers, championed the creation of the school to train professional hotel staff. The school delivered the first classes in a room of the Hôtel d’Angleterre on the shores of Lake Leman in Lausanne. Its first cohort was 27 students who studied arithmetic, accounting, geography and languages, as well as understanding of hospitality.
From those humble beginnings, today EHL has 3,208 enrolled students from 123 nationalities, of which 521 live on the campus. It has a healthy gender ratio, and this year 58% students are female. The average age of students is 22.

EHL also ensures its students are ever-ready to take on the ever-changing environment of the hotel industry. “We prepare students for a seamless transition into the hospitality industry, be it in any role,” says Witschi. “We are proud to say that 97% of EHL students have jobs in hand when they graduate.”

As far as Indian students are concerned, Witschi says India, being a big country, has a lot of potential. “Indian students enrich our cultural life as they come from a very different background. My wish-list is to reach out to the Indian government and help it improve the quality of tourism. As of now, we are trying to explore cities in China and Singapore before we directly enter India.”

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