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 Georgette Davey, Managing Director, Glion Institute of Higher Education.
What innovations, programmes and projects have been implemented in your school over the last two years?
Glion Connect - In these times of rapid and unprecedented change, we have developed a unique solution, which will deliver the complete semester 1 curriculum through a blend of learning at home and on campus. We call it Glion Connect.
Four-Year Bachelor’s Program Pathway in International Hospitality Business with Immersive English language study - Our Bachelor’s in International Hospitality Business is taught in English – the global language of hospitality. If English is not our applicants’ mother tongue, they are not confident in using the language, or the accredited language level is below our standard entry criteria, they can opt for our special four-year Bachelor’s degree.
By adding an extra semester to the program we can offer intensive English classes alongside our acclaimed Practical Arts curriculum, enabling the students to become a global business leader of the future by acquiring confidence in their language skills.
The Passport to Luxury Leadership Offer - A uniquely specialized luxury pathway Bachelor’s (BBA) with Luxury specialization + Master’s (MSc) in Luxury Management and Guest Experience.
What approach(es) has your school chosen to train its students? What are the specificities of your schools?
Our educational approach is based on the Swiss educational system which includes both theory and practice. As a successful hospitality leader needs to understand all sides of the business, we require all our students to complete a practical arts curriculum featuring immersion in key hospitality divisions, such as kitchen, service, and housekeeping.
During their program, our students also follow business-related courses such as business development and strategy, management of food and beverage, or corporate finance. This method enables students to develop essential soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership, as well as hospitality operations know-how. With the skill sets developed during their studies, our graduates not only become our indirect ambassadors but also greatly contribute to the industry. The success of our alumni is what means success for us.
What values / skills do you think are necessary for the hospitality industry that should be taught in a hotel school?
Soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, and leadership, as well as hospitality operations know-how, are essential to be developed by hospitality students.
A true passion for hospitality and a sense of service are also necessary for students who wish to succeed in the industry.
What do you think hoteliers need to do to attract & keep young talent?
Hoteliers need to understand that they are dealing with a new generation, one which has different values and career aspirations than previous generations.
The current generations starting out in their careers need to see that they are valued and that they have a real future within an organization, that they will receive training to help them achieve their goals, that they will be heard. If the company does not meet these requirements, young talent will have no problem changing jobs and moving to other companies.
Hoteliers today, therefore, need to be constantly listening to, and receptive to, the ideas and input of their young team members. They need also to provide transparent and comprehensive training plans, clearly demonstrating the possible career development that can be attained.
They also need to show that they care for the environment, for sustainability, for equal rights and inclusivity, that they are innovative, reactive and that they take care of all the needs of their employees in the workplace, both professional and personal. They need to give honest feedback, provide technical support and development as well as further training opportunities (both technical and practical). They need to show they understand and truly care for their employees and for their career development.
What message would you give to hoteliers?
Understand that the mindset of the current generation is different from previous generations; be understanding and don’t always think there is only one way of doing things.
Be open to new ideas, new ways of doing things. Trust the new generation, let go of old values, embrace innovation, change, and new approaches. Be excited to learn from people younger than you.
What message would you give to future generations?
Be sensitive to others who don’t think as you do, try to understand that things used to be done differently and that person takes time to adapt to new ways of thinking.
Communicate effectively, don’t forget you don’t know everything, nor do you have all the answers; and that people with more experience can teach you a lot. Be prepared to listen and to learn.