Postcard from Lausanne
Growing up, I had a penchant for travel and was fascinated by hotels whether it was the tented camps of the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya or the iconic heritage properties in European cities. Which is why I signed up to study hospitality at EHL Hospitality Business School in Switzerland.
The structure of the undergraduate programme blends aspects of practical arts required in Hospitality with two internships in the industry’s operational and administrative realms. Courses ranged from Oenology and Mixology to Financial and Managerial Accounting, Marketing and Corporate Strategy. Being exposed to a range of such Hospitality fundamentals was a game changer.
Teamwork is at the core of the curriculum. Throughout the course, we had to work in randomly-assigned teams and find ways to overcome obstacles. This reinforced the importance of communication skills and time-management.
As a part of the campus’ co-curricular activities, I assisted the logistics team The Young Hoteliers Summit 2020, and also lead the events team of the Mixology committee to plan tasting events and various workshops, which helped me network and develop public-speaking skills.
All this enabled me to complete an operational internship across six months at the Andaz by Hyatt, Singapore, rotating between the front desk, concierge, and guest services. It wasn’t easy to stay on my feet for up to 10 hours a day, keep smiling and always go above and beyond to provide exceptional service. But, this made me value people in ‘service,’ become more resilient, and learn the realities of operational hospitality.
My administrative internship came at the peak of the pandemic. I adapted to a remote role with Conde Nast India in the Commercial and Sponsorship Marketing department for Conde Nast Traveller and Vogue. This involved going beyond hospitality and mastering the skills of preparing pitches and decks, ideating campaigns, and working on overall marketing strategies in print and digital for both brands.
Beyond the the course itself, there was the infrastructure, faculty, and access to a variety of professionals and alumni. The value of being disciplined, the need for high grooming standards, dealing with rejection, taking criticism constructively are among the learnings that I will stay with me.
The writer is a final-year student at the EHL Hospitality Business School