There’s an art to hospitality that goes beyond a receptionists’ duly preferred Colgate smile and the first meeting’s impression of welcome. Such has been put to education by the Swiss historically in their schools for Hospitality and Hotel Management and nobody knows this better than the Swiss Education Group (SEG), a hotel management education network comprising of César Ritz Colleges, IHTTI School of Hotel Management & Design, Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland, Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) and Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS).
SEG has trained some of the world’s best hoteliers in their craft for over 20 years. How has SEG managed to get its graduates into some of the world’s best hotels, in little over 2 decades? The answer lies in the group’s policy combining institutional diversity, practical rigor and accreditation. With the CEO, Mr. Florent Rondez’ visit to Nepal, earlier this year, he exclaims on the beauty and wealth of attractions the country has to offer but also relates directly to the quality of education and training needed for our services to match par. “It is indeed very important where local young talents who get educated abroad with very high quality standards colleges or universities within the Hospitality field and can return to Nepal to set-up the standards for the next decade in terms of services provided to an ever more demanding crowd of travelers. Switzerland not only offers high quality education but also an exposure to the world, openness to other cultures, and expertise in the hospitality education for over 120 years. Evolving and studying in an international environment is an advantage that will benefit any graduate in his/her future career”
Founded in 1992 where each campus operated independently and competed directly with one another, as SEG they have ensured each campus now complements one another through the diversity of courses offered says Guy Peters, Recruitment & Marketing Director, Asia Pacific. Each campus’ courses are designed where they focus on a single element of a related aspect in Hospitality and Hotel Management e.g. IHTTI in Neuchatel focuses on Design Management whereas César Ritz Colleges stresses International Hospitality and Tourism Management. SEG maintains and delivers high standards of academic programs along with a high degree of academic and professional support. Besides the main academic program, students are also required to undertake elective classes i.e. a foreign language classes (French, German, Spanish). In the Culinary Arts Academy, students may specialize in Pastry and Chocolate Arts. Students enrolled in the Diploma /Higher Diploma programs are also required to complete two, six month internships in order to graduate. What makes SEG campuses above the rest and gives their students and graduates an edge over others, is that they excel in giving students specific skills, and are taught with an emphasis of learning-by-doing. SEG also has a high quality of accreditation whereby graduates receive multiple degrees or certifications from industry related professional bodies i.e. a graduate from SHMS would have had four professional certifications- a certificate, a diploma, a higher diploma and a professional BA degree from Swiss, United Kingdom and USA. Such international accreditation is not only recognized by employers but also helps students gain the traction needed to start an international career within the industry.
The success of SEG lies in its alumni and recruitment networks and they have been doing exactly that- building its alumni base and network of recruiters. Each graduate is enrolled into their alumni program from where they are kept in touch with other SEG alumni as well as the school.On events such as the Bi-annual International Recruitment Forum- an event where over 70 employers attended earlier this year and over 2500 interviews were conducted over a two day event, SEG students were put directly in contact with employers and alumni, allowing for a cross junction of talent across various industries helping majority of students find jobs within their chosen industry. While other options and destinations are available to study Hospitality Management where the costs may appear to be reasonably lower e.g. India, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia. It is the investment and the more probable returns on finding the traction and success to an international career with accreditation gained by being a SEG graduate, equipped with theoretical knowledge, practical experience and a well built resume to achieve success in what is already a rigorous and competitive industry.
With SEG offering diverse and specialized courses in education, its campus life is also what makes the distinction. According to Mr. Rondez “none of the campuses have more than 600 students. The relationship you build in the schools are forever preparing students with the depth, character, maturity and global awareness much needed to succeed within the industry.” SEG graduates are not only guided, educated and trained to adapt easily into a professionally rigorous program, but are also equipped with a plethora of skills and experience that makes them high potential recruits around the globe. It has a proven track record evident of their graduates’ success even from Nepal.
While SEG and its respective campuses continue to make waves both within Switzerland and Internationally with graduates and alumni succeeding across the globe, it is most likely that other hotel schools will follow the footsteps of SEG’s guided principles and consortiums. SEG continues to market themselves as leaders of education within the industry and Nepal is no exception. Mr. Rondez exclaims “Talented SEG graduates while returning to their home country Nepal, will bring a very valuable asset back to rebuild the nation’s reputation of being a rich tourism destination. They will be equipped to cater to the most demanding type of tourists/clientele, possess a new dimension in their thinking and approach towards product and service. They will have the ability to speak/comprehend multiple languages and at the same time have an appreciation of other cultures. This ensures that while back in Nepal, a SEG graduate will be able to put in practice all of these elements and definitely contribute immensely towards the development of the industry within the country”
While Nepal sees a flurry of restaurants, hotels and resorts open and close through the years, and with the announcements of international upcoming properties, what the industry needs are leaders who recognize the need for a certain level of service in both quality and consistency and can deliver these standards through their team within their establishments. Benchmarking the standards of products is easy, as procurement and access to the international market is at disposal to entrepreneurs and organizations. Mr. Rondez comments “Knowing what service is and being able to establish them is not something that can be bought but one needs to learn it either academically or through practical experience. As a SEG graduate, one is not only educated and trained about service academically but through it is able to gather first-hand experience by working amongst luxury or leading industry operators across diverse genres of the industry. This knowledge brought, taught, shared and implemented in Nepal will allow for the service to elevate to the next level. The improvement for the industry in Nepal is limitless- it needs more future graduates with such knowledge, it needs more leaders that are driven by excellence for success to be achieved tomorrow”