Cover Story

Moulding To Perfection

Started in the year 2008 with just 12 students, Don Bosco College-Hospitality Studies today has established itself among the top ranking management colleges in India. Annabelle Rodrigues, head of department, hospitality studies, clears certain misnomers about the institute and elaborates on the courses offered by the institute


For Annabelle Rodrigues, head of department, hospitality studies, Don Bosco College – Hospitality Studies, the one advice that she always gives to her students is, “Wherever you have come from and whichever station of life you are at, this is where mediocrity ends. You have to aim higher in life as there is no halfway strategy to survive in the competitive world.” Started in the year 2008, with 12 students in the first batch to now in 2014 having a full batch of 120 students, Don Bosco College-Hospitality Studies has seen a steady growth in student numbers. The college chooses to take in students from tough backgrounds, who are ambitious and hardworking, and the staff puts in extra effort into perfecting the students’ skills, moulding them into potential employees as per the hospitality industry expectations. Reminiscing on the inception of the course, “In 2009, the college received about 90 students which increased to 110 students in 2010 and about 90 and 97 students in the following years. I had started the school of empowerment, which was meant for students who cannot complete their 10th standard education but can read and write and give them skills so that they can enter into the industry,” says Rodrigues.

Initially the infrastructure to handle these growing number of students was less but now the college has two kitchens – ATK, which is for the degree students, and the studio kitchen for the empowerment school students, a library and housekeeping and front office lab. The kitchens are being revamped presently to provide better facilities.

On course

Annabelle Rodrigues

The college does the Trinity English language exam and this year they are planning to introduce public speaking courses as well. The college offers two courses – a three years BSC degree in hospitality studies, which is affiliated to Mumbai University, which comprises of six semesters; and the second is the Culinary Skill course, which is a one year course and is done by the college and not affiliated to any university. The latter second course begins in August until March. But the college gives students training from April to October and on completion of the one year course, students are given the certifications. “During the three year degree course, students have four months of industry training wherein after students return back to college they are expected to present their log book wherein they are expected to keep note of their daily activities in the hotel, submit project reports and do presentations as they have exams based on this. The third year, I make them do an entrepreneurship workshop so that in case students do not want to pursue a career in the hotel industry, after their training period, they still have the skill set to help them in their future endeavours,” she mentions. For all the subjects, if there is four hours of training, then it is followed by three hours of practical training. And this rule has been mandated from the University of Mumbai, she highlights, which is expected to be followed by all colleges.

In the pipeline, the college is going to introduce one year courses soon on bartending, housekeeping and front office programmes. As the Culinary Skill course is priced at Rs 43,000 for a year, the bartending course will also be priced on the same lines. While the housekeeping and front office programmes will be kept at Rs 23,000. “Our bartending course will not focus on the flaring techniques and glamour, but it will focus on the basic knowledge needed to run a bar. We will be taking up to 20 students for these new courses next year,” informs Rodrigues.

Interestingly, in order to entice students into learning more about their chosen subjects, the college conducts an induction course wherein students are divided into two groups- advanced English and basic English. So for two weeks students are groomed in English speaking. After the two weeks, the college focuses on four core subjects-communication skills, F&B, food production and housekeeping and front office alternating with each other. Through this, we provide a chance to students to have a general idea of their course so that they look forward to studying more and keep them hocked on.” She points out, “Our degree students have two things in mind-they aim to become general managers or executive chefs in 15-20 years. Also our students are hungry to learn more about their industry and are hardworking.”

Broadening perspectives

When asked about the need for an international exposure among students, Rodrigues says, “No international hotel chain will take in students for four months and give them the mandate to handle four departments. We are grateful that our hotels in Mumbai understand our system and help our students as they know at the end these are the potential employees whom they would need for their hotel operations.”

Clearing the air about the industry’s view on the need for a change in syllabus, she says, “The present syllabus has been done with hotels but to expect students to be moulded as per industry material right away from college is not justified.”

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