In our special Hospitality ON issue on hospitality management schools and trainings (No 308-309/May-June 2021) we interviewed Academic Directors of renowned hotel schools around the world. Here we unveil insights from Hannes Antonschmidt Professor for International Hotel Management and Head of International Tourism & Event management .
What innovations, programmes and projects have been implemented in your school over the last two years?
Three innovative steps, we started a unique master programme: Hospitality Management & Leadership, taught in English, 4 semesters with 120 ECTS or 3 semesters with 90 ECTS;
We strengthened the courses in travel technologies, culinary heritage and cooperatives industry related education;
We widened our network of “excellence in hospitality education” with additional European partner universities and hotel companies.
What approach(es) has your school chosen to train its students? What are the specificities of your schools?
We are the only university in Germany still providing a B.A. in Hotel Management (7 Semesters, 210 ECTS) as well as a M.A. in Hospitality Management & Leadership (3 or 4 semesters), taught 100% in English language, in classes of up to 25 students. For more than 25 years we have gained experience in hospitality education and through our alumni and students we have been closely connected to the European hotel industry. Study programmes at the Dresden School of Management are to be developed for the competence orientation of education according to the CORE principle (Competence Oriented Research and Education) and to ensure the acquisition of skills that correspond to the qualification profile in later professional life. The CORE principle aims to increase students’ academic success by increasing the degree of activation, participation and experience of self-efficacy. According to the CORE principle, courses should be structured within a semester in five-week phases, which allow students to focus on acquiring the competencies taught in a module within that phase. At the same time, a maximum of two modules can take place over a period of several blocks during a semester, in order to enable longterm and continuous acquisition of skills which can also be thought of as band modules.
Bachelor’s degree courses as well as Master’s degree courses usually include a module for the acquisition of competencies in professional practice (internship module). For this, we offer a network of nearly 100 hotel companies (chains and individual) worldwide.
Has the COVID-19 crisis impacted the students interest in the hospitality industry?
The students are certainly more concerned about their future in the industry. However, they expect that the end of the pandemic will also bring a restart of the industry with new employment opportunities. Some students have also switched to other sectors for their internship. Nonetheless, the industry is still attractive to the great majority of students.
What values / skills do you think are necessary for the hospitality industry that should be taught in a hotel school?
Since the hospitality industry is a people-centered industry, it is of particular importance that students acquire social skills, e.g. working in teams, discussing proposals, finding mutually agreed solutions. Furthermore, students should develop a liberal, open-minded attitude towards the challenges that they will face in their professional and private life.
Additionally, they should possess a quality-driven mindset and acknowledge that quality and professionalism are crucial for success in today’s very competitive hospitality industry. With respect to skills, students should acquire a holistic understanding how private businesses work so that they have a basic theoretical and, where required, technical understanding of the different areas such as marketing, accounting, HR. This should be comprehended by a profound knowledge on wider strategic challenges that businesses encounter in their socioeconomic environment and advanced project management skills.
What do you think hoteliers need to do to attract & keep young talent?
Hoteliers should work towards congruence between their values and the values of their future employees. Furthermore, they should ensure that the framework conditions such as payment, working conditions, and working hours are competitive. Finally, they should outline clear career paths and communicate these to their future employees. Excellence in leadership in order to show positive, motivating and resilient role-models is the best marketing for attracting young people for the hospitality industry.
What features/partnerships are you looking for?
We are looking for industry partners for our dual study programs where the students study 50% on campus and work 50% within their partner companies. Usually, the company covers the study fees in exchange for the work of the students. With these dedicated programs, hotels can secure young, ambitious, and wellqualified staff.
We also look for other universities for academic collaboration and/or exchange.
What message would you give to hoteliers?
We are confident that the hotel industry will come back stronger. The industry can rely on academic partners such as the Dresden School of Management for attracting young people for the industry. However, the crisis has exposed several weaknesses that hoteliers need to work on in the future. They should strengthen their financial reserves and improve their managerial style and organizational structures so that they can react flexibly to unforeseen situations. Hiring young, motivated talent, trusting in their skills and decision making capabilities will ensure a hotel can survive even tough times.
What message would you give to future generations?
The future generations should educate themselves as best as they can, trust in their competencies, have a clear career plan and continuously work on acquiring the necessary industry contacts. While doing so, they should enjoy their youth and try to see as much of the world as they can.
Any other comment you would like to add.
The Dresden School of Management is a career partner and mentor for students and companies at the same time. As a boutique university we deliver excellent education, request energy and passion and provide service and networking at its best.