Recognising the need to unite students and recruiters under one roof, Swiss Education Group (SEG), the largest private hospitality educator in Switzerland, organises the International Recruitment Forum (IRF) twice every year in Montreux, Geneva to offer its students the best career opportunities in the hospitality industry
By Steena Joy
Switzerland’s fame as the birthplace of hospitality was established over a hundred years ago when the first palace-style hotels were built. That legacy is being nurtured by Swiss Education Group (SEG) whose schools itself are housed in beautiful heritage buildings which were once historical former palace hotels, providing inspirational surroundings for its students.
SEG has five schools based across six campuses throughout Switzerland – Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland, Culinary Arts Academy, Hotel Institute Montreux, IHTTI School of Hotel Management and the Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS). Each school benefits from its unique strengths and features. With over 30 years of being in the field of hospitality and culinary arts education, SEG’s core educational values are based on the renowned Swiss hospitality tradition, focusing on the practical aspects of hotel management. Which is why all the courses mandate that every student has to complete two internships. And which is why SEG organises its own International Recruitment Forum (IRF) twice a year (March & October) in Montreux, Geneva.
Under one roof
SEG has developed long-standing relationships with the world’s leading hospitality players, including hotel groups, independent properties, catering and events companies, the banking industry, as well as airlines and cruise lines from around the world. And they all come under one roof at IRF to hire the best from these schools. This year India’s Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, the Al Zorah property in UAE was also present as a recruiter.
‘It is a great opportunity for our students to get interviewed, to get exposed to the real life’
In an exclusive interview, Florent Rondez, CEO, SEG speaks about the IRF’s benefits to SEG students and the India market.
What are the takeaways from IRF 2019?
It is an incredible event that we host twice a year and we are so lucky that so many professionals from the hotel industry, over 180 people recruiters from different companies come to meet our students and recruit them over the two days of the IRF.
It is a great opportunity for our students to get interviewed, to get exposed to the real life. Hopefully they will find an internship or management training programme but at the same time because all the students come here, there is also competition like in the real job market – they may be close to their classmates but they may fighting for the same job. So that makes it imperative for them to be presentable, to be well spoken – they have to sell themselves and I think this is the great platform to learn more about companies which they do not know or learn more about a company that they already like and also to do a lot of work on themselves…showing their CVs and the passion for the job/education they have chosen.
What do you think of the India market, considering a significant part of your students are from India?
I have been to India many times and I think the country has great hospitality and some beautiful hotel properties. Indian students are very well spoken in English which is an asset for welcoming wold travellers but I think what they lack is the rigourness of Switzerland – timing, time management, precision, attention to detail so there is something they can embrace here by being with other nationalities. India has a great hospitality – I have been to Leela, Taj, beautiful hotels. The country is developing and welcoming more and more tourists from around the world so the country should be able to supply the demand for tourism not just in India welcoming foreigners, but even in overseas hotels who want to employ some good Indian employees to welcome Indian guests.
Speaking exclusively to Express Food & Hospitality, Yong SHEN, deputy CEO, SEG said, “India has tremendous potential. India is growing very fast and you need more and more well trained talent. And hospitality worldwide is a growth sector. With India’s new infrastructure, growing middle class and service sector you will need more well trained world class people and we have a lot to offer. Switzerland generally is very well known for hospitality management training and SEG has a even more special place in context of Switzerland. We are so international, we are used to working with talent from all over the world. Our student body diversity is hugely impressive. We attract employers from all over the world and we are building a really strong global franchise. Students including Indian students will benefit from our global network of employers so that they can build international careers.”
Commenting on the market strategy for India, SHEN added, “We are working with a number of key stakeholders in India trying to establish some more partnerships, developing a comprehensive Indian market strategy because there is a lot more potential in India for attracting students here but also the B2B market. SEG Professional as a sub brand does a lot of professional development training programmes – in that segment also we can work with a diversified number of players in India. So in all aspects of our business, India is a tremendous opportunity for us.”
A diverse student population
The SEG student population covers a diverse cultural environment from Argentina to Zimbabwe consisting of around 111 nationalities and over 6582 students enrolled. Partnerships with the University of Derby (UK) and, Northwood University (USA) and Washington State University (USA) ensure that students qualifications are internationally transferable.
Courses are conducted in English and all schools offer Diploma, Bachelor and Masters programmes, with a variety of subjects and specialisations. Like for example, the Hotel Institute of Montreux (HIM) offers specialisations in Human Capital & Development, Luxury Brand Management (Hi tech and Hi touch experiences) and Financial Analysis and Wealth Management. The new specialisation includes Senior Living Management allowing students to tailor their education to modern needs. HIM students can get internships with its industry partners such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, La Mer, John Paul, Tag Huer, etc.
Here’s a brief about the SEG schools:
Cesar Ritz Colleges Switzerland
There are three campuses: Le Bouveret, Lucerne and Brig. Le Bouveret and Lucerne students share campus with the Culinary Arts Academy students. This gives gives them a chance to develop their hospitality skills alongside future chef entrepreneurs.
Culinary arts Academy Switzerland
The state-of-the art kitchens here offer students the most advanced culinary facilities. The Le Bouveret campus is also home to The Mosimann Collection: A Culinary Heritage which houses the memorabilia collected by Michelin starred Chef Anton Mosimann (OBE).
Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM)
HIM is located in the heart of Montreux on the banks of Lake Geneva with the Alps as the backdrop. The school is housed in three former hotel buildings within walking distance of each other.
IHTTI School of Hotel Management
This is an intimate design-style school where students develop a better understanding of design and new trends in luxury hotel management.
Swiss Hotel Management School
This school has two campuses Caux and Leysin. The Caux campus is housed in a former palace hotel Caux Palace which can be accessed by a small train.
With operational facilities like lavish banqueting halls, a grand theatre, multiple restaurants, students have many opportunities to perfect their skills in hospitality management.