(The Standard) Revered as ‘the home of hospitality’, Switzerland inaugurated, in 1992, the world’s first hotel school, Swiss Hotel Management School, which today ranks globally among the top institutions for hospitality and leisure management education.
Housed in the former Swiss Palace Hotel, Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS) is widely recognized for its top-notch hospitality education, as evidenced by its large number of international students. Among them is 19-year-old Jonathan Isaksson from Sweden who opted to study hospitality management in SHMS after participating in a 3-week summer program organized by the Swiss Education Group (SEG), a global leader in hospitality education.
With nearly 40 years of experience in hospitality management education, SEG is the largest private hospitality educator in Switzerland offering a wide range of courses and programs to meet diverse students’ needs and interests.
“That summer program opened my eyes to the exciting possibility of pursuing a career in hotel management,” says Isaksson, who is now a year 3 student studying Hospitality and Event Management. “It was truly a game-changer for me.”
Upholding the philosophy of ‘learning by doing’, SHMS offers both academic and practical education to let students thrive collectively and individually. In the first and second year of study, students learn about food and beverage management and rooms division management, as well as completing two global internships; and in the third year, they will choose a pathway from hospitality, event management, and design.
To enhance learning efficacy, the school adopts a small class teaching approach, and all teaching staff are experienced in hospitality industry. There are 20 students in Isaksson’s class from different parts of the world, thus creating a multicultural learning environment. Isaksson is particularly impressed with the teaching methodology. “Every lesson is like a ted talk,” he says. “The teachers will bring up new topics in class, along with class discussion and group projects.”
Aside from school-based learning, students are given plenty of opportunities to hone their skills and build a network. There is a career coach to assist them in getting an internship, and they also attend a half-yearly International Recruitment Forum (IRF) to put them in touch with potential employers. It is at one such event that Isaksson was able to obtain an internship from Rosewood Hong Kong, which will start in March.
When asked about the changes to his life after studying in Switzerland, he points to his personal growth. “I will always treasure the opportunities we had in undertaking projects and gaining experience through group work,” he says. “Through the very well-planned programs in SHMS, I have become a more mature and responsible person, and always brimming with confidence.”