In a series of interviews, some of the students reveal why they find the industry so compelling. They share their views on innovative and their experience at SSTH.
So what makes the hotel industry so compelling for the students at the SSTH?
- 23 years old
- Nationality: Swiss
- Lives in Urnäsch, Appenzelller
- Hobbies: Gym and cooking for his friends
- Fact: Loves his dog.
- Semester: 2, English Program
- Languages: German, English and French
- Career Aspirations: To have an international career in a large chain of hotels.
Swiss-born, from Urnäsch, Appenzeller, Gustav has always dreamed of having an international career in the industry. Having previously studied the Swiss Federal VET Diploma, training to become a Chef, Gustav wanted to further his studies, which led him to SSTH. He first heard about SSTH whilst visiting the Dorchester Hotel in London and was impressed with not only the high level of practical experience within the program but in the academic content too. Faced with a choice of studying the Swiss Professional Degree in either German or English, he chose English in order to enhance his chances of an international career. Gustav has been with SSTH since 2015.
Before joining SSTH, Gustav had already gained some impressive work experience. In 2013- 2014, he could not have imagined he would be working in central London for such a prestigious business like Mosimann Ltd, an established family run business, headed up by a Swiss man, Anton Mosimann OBE.
“What is so inspirational about Mosimann,” states Gustav “is that he started his apprenticeship at a local hotel, age 15 and by 28 he was appointed Maître Chef des Cuisines at the Dorchester Hotel in London. Now his empire consists of restaurants and clubs”.
Gustav’s motives for studying at the SSTH are to gain not only further top-end experience in prestigious establishments but to focus on the managerial aspects the program has to offer, such as finance, marketing, economics and law and wishes to eventually follow a management career in a large chain of hotels internationally.
- 20 years old
- Nationality – Peruvian/Italian/Swiss
- Lives in Verona, Italy.
- Hobbies: travel
- Fact: Black Belt in Karate
- Semester: 1, English program
- Languages: Italian, English, German, French Spanish (a bit of Arabic)
- Career Aspirations: After the BSc, set up a family-run string of restaurants in Italy having gained experience in International Hotels.
With 2 older brothers, one studying Culinary Arts, the other studying Finance in Lausanne, and parents heavily involved in the Slow Food Association in Italy, it was clear for Xenia that hospitality/hotel management was the study path she would take.
“My parents travelled and worked internationally and this is where my passion to travel and work abroad has come from. I am convinced that studying Hospitality Management will allow me to do the same.”
The Slow Food Association, which she herself is involved in, promotes access to clean and healthy food for communities.
Is the hotel industry really that innovative?
“There is no doubt that the hotel industry is progressive in terms of technological innovation. However, dining and culinary are just as innovative. From sustainable culinary arts, molecular food to slow food, there is so much to learn.”
When asked about some of the modules she is studying, she talked in detail about innovation and strategic management.
“We learn about innovation in the industry and how dynamic the hotel business is. The type of subjects range from philanthropy, consumerism, world economics, strategy to the latest technology. It seems the hotel industry is always pushing the boundaries to remain competitive. Really, some businesses could learn a lot from our industry. The Hilton is a great example. Partnered with IBM, together they have developed the first robotic concierge. How cool is that.”
Innovation has most certainly inspired Xenia and the advice she would give to anybody who is unsure about whether to study Hotel Management is, to do your research.
“Read articles online, visit hotels and be inspired. When choosing a university, visit and use social media, it’s a great way to see what’s going on with the students.”
- 21 years old
- Nationality – Swiss
- Lives in Domat Ems, 15 minutes from Passugg/Chur
- Hobbies: Reading and photography
- Semester: 2, German program
- Fact: Grew up in India as an only child and learnt to speak fluent German to C1 level in only 3 years.
- Languages: English, Hindi and German
- Career Aspirations: To help her father run his hotel and restaurant, and one day take it over.
Selina always visited Switzerland on holiday. She grew up in India with her grandparents and after high school joined her father in Switzerland, where he runs a hotel and a restaurant locally.
Her father was her inspiration and the reason she chose to study hospitality management.
“My father loves his work and never complains, even though sometimes it is really tough. The way he manages his staff and runs his business, really is inspiring.”
How international is SSTH?
With an outgoing personality, Selina was attracted to SSTH because it is international with around 25 different nationalities. However coming from the Punjab in North India, the culture is very different and she wasn’t sure how she would fit in.
“I was quite nervous about whether I would fit into the German program at SSTH, but actually there are many nationalities in that program too. I have a Russian friend studying in German and she is always asking me about India. She’s learned so much about India, I can honestly say, she is almost half Indian.”
Selina chose to study in German because her aim is to one day take over her father’s business based in Graubünden.
What’s the social life like at SSTH?
Selina states that it doesn’t make any difference whether you live on or off campus. The whole school socializes through events like Stüebli night (student night club), Mix and Mingle events (after lessons finish in the bar), leisure time activities and project work. The sports clubs at SSTH are also an excellent way of getting to know other students too. There is a gym here on campus and students have use of the large sports centre in Chur, only 10 minutes away.
Selina is extremely focused and is very interested in both specializations at SSTH, Spa Management and Sustainable Culinary Arts and hopes to focus on Spa management.
- 35 years old
- Nationality: Turkish/Australian
- Lives in Nafels, Glarus
- Hobbies: New baby
- Semester: 5 English program
- Fact: Has a passion for the Hyatt Chain
- Languages: English, Turkish, Arabic and German
- Career Aspirations: To have a fulfilling, international career in a Senior Management position.
Extremely well presented, quietly charming and eloquent, Cemil strikes you as a true professional. Having worked in various roles in the Hyatt Chain in Australia, Turkey and Dubai, he already has a wealth of professional experience.
So why give up an established international career to study Hospitality Management in Switzerland at SSTH?
“Being so ambitious, I was always keen to climb the career ladder. Having undertaken various positions in the kitchen during my 12.5 years abroad, I decided to settle with my wife in Switzerland and study. I really felt that I needed to underpin my practical experience with management theory. As an Executive Chef, I was required to have a large amount of managerial competence to manage teams of people, communicate clearly and meet deadlines. However, in order to become a General Manager, I need to have something more, a prestigious and recognized degree. A former student recommended SSTH and having done some research I liked the content of the degree programs, so I chose SSTH.”
How fulfilling is a management career in the hotel industry?
“I didn’t want a 9 to 5 career. I love the fact there are so many varied career opportunities in both management and other areas within the industry. The employees I have met so far are international with a broad perspective on life. They also really enjoy their work.”
Cemil went on to explain how some key managers in the Hyatt have turned 9 of their hotels across the world into labs, experimenting and trialing new ideas to enhance the customer experience.
For further information, read this article from the New York Times.
What will you do after you graduate from SSTH?
“I have secured a 6 month internship in the Baur Au Lac Hotel and I want to build my future plans around the experience I gain there. Of course, I am aiming for senior level management!”
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