Savoy, The Dorchester, Mosimann, Sketch, Belmond British Pullman, Roux at the Landau, Park Chinois, Zuma, Gloria Trattoria, Coal Office…
This might be a list of places frequented by the stars in London, but it is also a list of some of the establishments that the 88 students in the MSc in International Hospitality Management program will be discovering during “Hospitality Week in London”.
The Savoy Hotel, a 5-star luxury hotel inaugurated in 1889!
4 days to discover, meet and exchange ideas
Barely two months after the start of their [program]MSc in International Hospitality Management, the students set off on Eurostar to experience the Hospitality Week in London: 4 days to discover all the facets of the hospitality industry: in small groups of 12 to 15 students, the 88 students of the 2019/2020 academic year were able to visit luxury hotels, lifestyle hotels (hotels that develop an experience based on a specific theme and an art of living taken to extremes), restaurants and bars, and also to find out about consulting firms, brokerage firms, and so on.
In business attire, the students were generally greeted by the general manager or a human resources manager. This was an opportunity to exchange ideas with professionals in the sector: housekeepers, bartenders, event managers, sales managers, etc. A wide variety of discussions that allowed the students to see and understand the institutions’ “back-of-house”.
Gloria, a restaurant of the Big Mamma group. On the menu: a presentation by the executive chef and tasting some very gourmet specialities.
Learning while travelling
“These experiences in the field, both in France and internationally, are major events and strong points in the [program]MSc in International Hospitality Management,” emphasises Martine Ferry, Program Director. "These trips have two aims: firstly, to introduce students to the diversity of the hotel offer and to put them in contact with professionals for them to create their network. Secondly, to create professional exchanges about good practices and issues in the hospitality sector”.
These trips are an integral part of the [program]MSc in International Hospitality Management, with 1 dedicated ECTS credit. At the end of these 3 trips students must produce a video showing the cultural differences between the institutions, which will be assessed.
But these field trips also have a social function, and each trip includes moments of conviviality such as cocktails or meals, providing an opportunity to create links also within the class, between students who have known each other for only 2 months.
In most of the establishments, a special welcome is reserved for the students. Afternoon tea at the Dorchester is offered by the [program]MSc in International Hospitality Management, giving the students a unique, memorable experience. They are actually welcomed as future professionals. "We visited a lot of restaurants and big hotels. We were pleasantly surprised by how well we were received in all the establishments, without exception,” says Priscilla, a student in the MSc in International Hospitality Management program.
At PPHE Hotel Group, an international hotel property group
Diversity and interculturalism
But the British capital is not the only port of call for Hospitality Management MSc students: while London traditionally opens the season, this year it will be Paris in November, followed by the other two field trips: London in February and Shanghai in spring. 3 capitals, 3 very different cultures, 3 cities in which the economic fabric of hospitality is very specific: “That’s also the point of seeing several cities and countries: students can see the cultural differences, the type of management, the organization, etc.”, Martine Ferry points out. The way customers are welcomed, the decoration and the sense of service are very different from Paris to Shanghai! “I was very impressed by the cultural difference between how people are welcomed in London and in Paris”, says Ekaterina, a student. "There's a real business culture in London, a culture of hospitality, where professionals are very open, happy and eager to share and showcase their work".
Over the 3 trips, each student will visit between 30 and 40 establishments: a logistical challenge for the staff, and a dense, intense program for the students who are fortunate enough to experience it.