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Interviews

"To be game changers, ready for the future" Vera Dühring Dean Relations and Commercial Affairs Hotel Management School Maastricht

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 Vera Dühring Dean Relations and Commercial Affairs.

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

We are developing an international Master degree in Leading Hospitality Innovation with two universities from Spain and Ireland. Moreover, we are currently extending our research capacity with new programmes on International relationship management, Digital intelligence, and innovations in sustainable food concepts.

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

Marriage between theory and practice. Combining academic knowledge with professional experience. Including classes from experts in the industry. Focus on soft/transferable skills. Allowing students a smooth start in the labour market, being well trained professionals and team-players with a strong network for life.

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

So far we still have a high number of applicants for our bachelor and master programs. We are confident that the hospitality industry will continue to an interesting industry for young people.

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

The most important is to be flexible and open-minded. At HMSM we prepare our students for a rewarding career in hospitality. On our unique campus with its smallscale, intensive teaching facilities they are sure to make connections for life. They learn intercultural and interpersonal soft skills.
We don’t just teach them the business and management fundamentals. We stimulate them to develop their own sense of responsibility and initiative. We instill in them an innovative entrepreneurial spirit, to not just manage the business, but to be game changers, ready for the future. To prepare them for a fast changing business environment.

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

The hotel industry is competing with many other hospitality branches for our students.
Promote the industry as an attractive employer with career opportunities. For the future benefits such as flexible working time to allow a work-life balance and remuneration are important to young talent.

What features/partnerships are you looking for?

Our industry partners are key in training well-rounded professionals. For instance, with inspiring lectures and challenging internships, so that students experience firsthand what is happening in the industry. HMSM in turn provides it partners with a carefully selected pool of students and knowledge that can be applied to their businesses.

We are continuously monitoring and assessing the changes that are transforming the industry, so that we can help develop and innovate it, together with our industry partners.

What message would you give to hoteliers?

At the Hotel Management School Maastricht we see it as our mission to provide the hospitality industry with highly qualified and passionate professionals who will contribute to and help innovate the industry.

Consequently, in our collaboration with academic partners we work at the intersection of hospitality and innovation. How can we bring innovation knowledge and insights into the hospitality business? And vice versa, how can we put our hospitality knowledge to good use to innovate in other fields and industries?

What message would you give to future generations?

At the Hotel Management School Maastricht we prepare our students to be professionals with a vision for the hospitality industry and a wide set of skills.

On a unique campus, with small-scale, intensive teaching in an international environment, you will from the day you start become part of a network that spans the globe and will support you throughout your career. Hotel Management is the perfect start for a career in hospitality, and beyond.

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