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"Whatever you do, do what makes you happy, and do it with passion, so you can be the best!" Lluís Serra University College of Hospitality Management Barcelona EUHT Stpol

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 Lluís Serra Managing Director & CEO, EUHT Stpol.

What innovations, programmes and projects have been implemented in your school over the last two years?

We implemented online programs in the field of hotel management, F&B management and culinary arts specializations, stronger contents in communication, digitalization, CSR, personal branding, serious games, leadership, innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability.

We have a strong relation with the hospitality industry, specially recruiters from hotel chains. Everytime that we think about launching a new program, we want to make sure that there is a real demand. We are not interested in shortterm trends. We focus on mid-longterm teaching and development to our students.

Obviously, long life learning is also offered and recommended to all our graduate students and professionals.

What approach(es) has your school chosen to train its students? What are the specificities of your schools?

We chose to focus on operational skills, problem solving, lateral thinking and case studies. We are convinced that internships are really important not only to learn from the basis but also as a way to start a career path in the industry. With this idea, all of our academic programs (bachelor’s degree and master’s degree) go together with on campus internship, as well as individually industry placed internships in hotels and restaurants worldwide.

Moreover, through our Professional Development Days, the graduates are interviewed by recruiters of some of the most important hotel chains and get different professional offers to start their career path in the hospitality industry.
Our experience evidences that this approach makes sense: a high percentage of our graduates are nowadays distinguished professionals in the hotel, restaurant and culinary arts field. And this is, at the end, our mission: to train future leaders of the hospitality industry, with a sense of vocation and adaptability to a fast pacing world.

Has the COVID-19 crisis impacted the students interest in the hospitality industry?

Not in our case. The students who enrol with us do so because of their vocation and passion for the hospitality industry and these parameters, vocation and passion, have not been altered by the pandemic. In addition, the COVID-19 crisis and its recent reopening has made evident the need for motivated, talented and experienced professionals in hospitality. So, now it makes even more sense to study hospitality management or culinary arts to soon be the talented professionals that the industry needs.

What values / skills do you think are necessary for the hospitality industry that should be taught in a hotel school?

We are convinced that our educational model is especially useful to teach essential skills for the industry such as teamwork, humility, communication skills, problem solving, multicultural awareness, empathy, ethics and CSR.
Not only with the theoretical lessons but also with the practical methodology, our students are aware of the importance of consolidating these values to become the professionals that the hospitality industry is looking for.

What do you think hoteliers need to do to attract & keep young talent?

As we see with our graduates, when they choose a position in a given company, what they expect is continue learning in this industry and having the opportunity to grow in the company.
Of course passion and vocation are important, but they must be accompanied by new professional challenges and new opportunities to grow professionally.

A part from that, I think that hoteliers need to provide a proper compensation in terms of salary and working hours, recognition and offer flexibility when possible.
This will make our industry even more attractive to them. These conditions must take place so educators can attract talent, transform it and send it to the industry, who will be the responsible to retain them. Don’t we all want to have the best professionals in our industry?

What message would you give to hoteliers?

COVID-19 crisis has put in evidence that keeping talent is essential to have a great hospitality industry now and in the future. To the hoteliers I would give the message of offering a clear career path to young graduates. I know that it’s too often not easy for small hotel chains, but it’s important to attract and keep talented people and, at the end, to have a hospitality industry with professionals passionate about what they do.

What message would you give to future generations?

To the future generations, I would say that we are a great service oriented industry. In hospitality management and culinary arts, you need passion in whatever you do. So, if you have it, don’t hesitate to join the greatest industry to work.
Whatever you do, do what makes you happy, and do it with passion, so you can be the best!
If you enjoy being a host, learning from other cultures while traveling and living throughout the world, working with people and open-minded, this is your industry!

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