What's it like inside the world's top hospitality business school? | TopMBA.com

What's it like inside the world's top hospitality business school?

By Laura L

Updated January 26, 2023 Updated January 26, 2023

Set in the picturesque hillside of Lausanne, Switzerland’s fourth largest city, EHL Hospitality Business School trains the next generation of leaders in the fine art of hospitality.  

With a brand-new campus for 2022, the school provides innovative facilities and a high-class service experience that’s reflective of hospitality excellence within the industry.  

Featuring the highest ecological business standards and ‘avant-garde architectural and lifestyle aspects’, the campus is blending its traditional roots in hospitality excellence with innovative training methods for the future. From the grand entrance hall overlooking the professional development kitchens to the strict business dress code, EHL creates an image of class from the moment you step in the door.  

In summer, students flock to the campus’s garden terrace in business attire to take a break in front of the snow-topped mountains and educational vegetable garden. In winter, the hillside EHL sits on becomes a ski slope for both students and locals.  

There’s no wonder the school attracts over 3,700 students from 127 nationalities. 

A practical training ground for future leaders 

The campus’s 12 food outlets (including a brasserie, sushi bar and Switzerland’s only Michelin Star training restaurant), as well as a bakery, wine laboratories and the research and development kitchen, serve as classrooms for first-year students to become familiar with every corner of the service sector.  

Even the 800 on-site student bedrooms become a training ground when it comes to learning about housekeeping duties. Alongside learning to wait tables, serve wine and prepare pastry, first-year students are assessed in cleaning their coursemates’ rooms, making the bed and doing the laundry, all to hotel standards. 

EHL student pours wine at the Michelin star training restaurant

@EHL Hospitality Business School

However, EHL Hospitality Business School’s purpose is not in training future chefs and service staff. They’re dedicated to the advancement of hospitality management and leadership, bringing together world-class academia with industry expertise to the next generation of hotel managers, food and beverage directors and hospitality consultants.  

Dr Ines Blal is the executive dean and managing director of EHL Hospitality Business School. With 11 years in research and teaching strategic management for the hospitality industry, Dr Blal brings a wealth of experience to the school and has designed and taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive courses that bring a human-centric approach to the business world.  

Dr Blal said: “Hospitality is a people-centric industry, both in terms of providing an excellent service for the customer but also for being able to effectively manage every person who feeds into making that service memorable.  

“Our practical arts training gives students the opportunity to really understand and have empathy for the work that goes into creating excellent service. We are a hospitality school, but when you look at our curriculum, we are a business school.  

“When our students graduate, they can walk into a company and say ‘I can run your hotel, but I can also run your entire service programme and handle all the problems related to the management of people too. I will run this business for you.’”  

A global experience as standard 

EHL students enjoy the view at the Lausanne campus

@EHL Hospitality Business School

As the world’s top hospitality management school (QS World University Rankings by Subject: Hospitality), you’d expect EHL to attract students from around the world. Even since its beginnings, diversity has been in the school’s DNA with students travelling from France, Germany, Greece and even Cuba before World War One.  

With increasing globalisation, EHL has simply reinforced its international experience, and now has three campuses across Switzerland and Singapore. 84 percent of EHL students speak three languages or more, enabling fluid conversation and learnings across different cultures.  

Alumni networks are a well-known benefit of studying at a top business school, gaining access to thousands of graduates around the world who can provide industry insights, expertise and connections. At EHL that network is as close as family, according to Dr Blal.  

She said: “EHL students have a strong bond. You can travel anywhere in the world and find EHL graduates who will greet you like a sibling and make sure you have the greatest experience. 

“I’ve known students reach out to alumni and be offered graduate roles thanks to their reputation as an EHL student. My brother stayed in a hotel in Germany and mentioned I was an EHL alumnus. He was upgraded to a bigger suite, he received free drinks and was treated to the best service – all because his sister was from EHL.” 

The MSc in Global Hospitality Business gives students the opportunity to spend 16 months at three top business schools in Europe, Asia and North America. Not only do students spend a semester in each location, but they also explore three further cities in each country for additional field trips. 

Professionalism from the moment you step onto campus 

EHL students in approved business dress

@EHL Hospitality Business School

Between the hours of 7am and 7pm, once students step out of their dormitories and onto campus, professional business attire is compulsory. There’s a 15-page guide to dressing in line with the EHL values and even a dress code monitor who walks around campus checking everyone is dressed appropriately.  

While it may seem rigorous, a professional appearance is fundamental to EHL’s values and a teaching opportunity to ‘support the development of soft skills by applying the standards of a professional environment on campus’, according to the guide.  

The goal is for students to understand how to present themselves in a way that complies with the industry requirements and impacts how they interact with the world in a professional manner.  

The dress code does allow for personal expression and self-identity, however, with updates that ensure an inclusive attitude is taken for every student regardless of cultural, religious or gender expression.  

‘Plug and play’ graduates ready to lead 

EHL’s unique approach to practical hospitality training and innovative business education provides its graduates with the same unique edge.  

With sector-specific business teachings and a practical campus where the students can live and breathe the hospitality world, and over 600 collaborations with private companies for business projects, Dr Blal describes EHL students as becoming ‘plug and play’ graduates. 

“Our students can walk straight into a management position because they understand every aspect of what goes into running a successful service.” 

Beyond the undergraduate and master’s programmes, EHL also provides executive-level training, supporting current leaders and managers in developing innovative solutions for the future of the industry.  

This article was originally published in January 2023 .

Want more content like this Register for free site membership to get regular updates and your own personal content feed.

Related Articles Last year

Most Shared Last year

Most Read Last year