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Hotel Schools: All the facts to make the right choice

Hospitality ON studied twenty of the most prestigious and dynamic hotel schools around the world. Compare the characteristics of their campuses, number of students and alumni, percentage of international students, importance of internships, success of professional insertion and percentage of those holding managerial positions, admissions criteria and rates for certain programs, estimated annual budget: discover the strong points and weak points forts of each school and some of their courses of study.

Each school has its own particularities. The international aspect of programs offered by hotel schools is evident in a variety of ways. Through locations in different countries: Vatel is one of the schools with the most extensive network of campuses with no fewer than 31 sites in 24 countries, not to mention forthcoming openings in Kuala Lumpur, Baku, Montevideo, Sotchi and Miami. Les Roches has 4 campuses: in Switzerland, Spain, in the Middle East (Jordan) and in China with Shanghai Jin Jiang, a campus that also depends on a partnership with the leading group in China and became 7th worldwide. Since the number of guests travelling from Asia is increasingly important in the hotel industry, this continent has become an attractive location for hotel schools: IMHI ESSEC has opened a branch in Singapore and the Australian school Blue Mountains has a campus in Suzhou in Chinea.

Most hotel schools have a limited number of campuses, but for certain diplomas they have created partnerships with schools in foreign countries. The Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne offers its Masterss students an opportunity to do part of their studies in Houston or Hong Kong. The Ecole de Savignac has partner schools in several countries where students may spend six months during their course of studies. The Hotel Institute de Montreux is associated with Northwood University in England, and Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management has a partnership with the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne.

The international vocation of hotel schools also means opportunities to do internships abroad. Depending on the school, each student does 2 internships on average during their course of studies, and sometimes 5 as at Glion in Switzerland and La Rochelle (for MBAs). Considering the growing importance of professional experience, this factor should be considered in order to have the best chances for finding employment after graduation.

Hotel schools also highlight their international student bodies as the number of foreign students acts as an indicator of the awareness worldwide recognition of certain schools. International students sometimes represent more than 60% of students, as at the César Ritz College Les Roches, at the Swiss Hotel Management School, and the University of Surrey. Glion is one of the most international schools with 94% of its students from outside Switzerland.

To prepare their students for international careers, hotel schools generally give their classes in English or even in two or three languages. Most also offer complementary English programs. In addition to the quality of the education it offers, Surrey University in the United Kingdom or Blue Mountains in Australia offer the additional advantage of linguistic and cultural immersion. Mastering Shakespeare's language is a must for hospitality recruiters, and skills in English are also essential for the admissions process at the schools, which mostly require satisfactory or even a very good level regardless of the diploma sought.

For those who wish to pursue a career in Europe, immersion in a German speaking environment in Bad Honnef can also be a judicious choice; Germany is in fact the leading supply market of tourists on the continent. For those who wish to do a career abroad, Dubai and Antalya in the Middle East or Shanghai in China offer the dynamism of tourism in their respective countries for local openings for graduating students.

Particular emphasis is placed on internships during the course of study. They generally last at least 6 months and may be international. They make it possible to have professional experience which can be necessary for continuing on to higher levels of education (Master and MBA).

Graduates may also make use of fairly extensive alumni networks depending on the school's size (number of campuses and students per year) and how old it is: some of the older European hotel schools have networks of thousands of former students worldwide: Vatel, and the Hotel Institute Montreux, founded in 1981, and the Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (created at the end of the 19th century) have networks with more than 25,000 alumni.

The number of students the schools take is a pedagogical choice: while size is often indicative of the renown and quality of a school, some opt for smaller student bodies where conviviality and closer guidance are strongpoints. This is the case at Essec in France and the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management in Dubai.

In any case, hotel school graduates have a good employment rate and schools often post results higher than 90% upon graduation and 3 to 4 years later. The schools offer access to managerial positions: generally speaking at least 50% of students access this type of position upon graduation, meaning more than 90% of students at some schools. This depends on the courses of study offered, and managerial positions are essentially accessible to MBA students: those seeking this type of job should thus plan to study longer.

Finally, in terms of cost, hotel schools have different policies regarding obligatory expenses. Before choosing, it is important to compare what is included, and analyze the options with respect to supplemental costs during the year. Some schools, such as Glion, include student accommodations in their registration fees, which offers global visibility regarding the cost of one year and simplifies the registration process. Others have a more flexible model, such as The Hague School which offers international students one of the best values, criteria that should be considered if one wishes to attend one of the top schools without graduating too much in debt.

The different hotel schools offer a broad array of possibilities: in making one's choice, it is important to choose a career path (and its geographic location), functions and desired salary (with respect to the cost of education), and also to look at the characteristics of the program and understand what environment is most conducive to studying.

Clic here to read the full table for schools and diplomas

Also read:

  • New jobs open up to hotel management students
  • Hotel Management Schools: 2015 innovations

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