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Cutting-edge training

One of the UK’s premier centres for hospitality, tourism and events research, Sheffield Business School attracts students from all over the world, including India. With a strong focus on workplace training and research, the students are well prepared for a global hospitality career. By Sudipta Dev

20141231eh56Sheffield Business School offers 25 courses in hospitality, tourism and events, including undergraduate, postgraduate and research degrees. Many of the courses are accredited by professional bodies including the Institute of Hospitality and the Tourism Management Institute. “We have strong links with industry and we work with both multinationals, like Hilton Worldwide, as well as smaller, specialised organisations. Our students have opportunities to attend workshops and lectures from experts from the sector as well as complete industry placements and work experience,” says John Dunning, principle lecturer, hospitality management, Sheffield Business School. He adds with pride that their teaching was awarded full marks (24/24) in the latest Research Assessment Exercise.

While traditionally, Sheffield Business School has seen Indian students opt for its MBA or courses in computing or engineering, but they are beginning to see the diversity of subjects of interest to Indian students widen. The hospitality management department in Sheffield Business School is internationally recognised and attracts students from all over the world. “In the subject area of hospitality, tourism and events we have not yet seen applications in huge numbers but we are increasingly welcoming students to a range of both undergraduate and postgraduate level in these areas. Courses like our MSc International Hospitality and Tourism Management attract a wide range of nationalities including students from the UK, India, China and East Asia,” mentions Dunning.

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John Dunning

The department had recently got a GBP 3.5 million refurbishment of its food and hospitality facilities, which include a purpose-built restaurant kitchen, a presentation suite and product development areas. This allows students to train and practise in facilities which are an authentic reproduction of those found in top restaurants and hotels. Dunning remarks that staff in the department have a wealth of experience in hospitality, tourism and events which they draw on in both their teaching and research, “For example, I have had the opportunity to work in hotels all over the world, including for The Savoy in London and hotels in countries including Switzerland, Australia and Thailand. I have also worked as a consultant and training manager for world-renowned chef, Gordon Ramsay.”

Competitive advantage

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the worldwide expenditure on hospitality and tourism is set to increase by around 60 per cent over the next 10 years. This creates many opportunities for managers with a thorough understanding and experience of the sector. “We use our expertise in the sector – both from the perspective of industry experience and research – to prepare our students for the workplace. Our close links with industry bodies and associations ensures that our courses are up-to-date and relevant to the demands of the sector,” informs Dunning. Many of the courses include a work placement. This allows students to apply everything they have learned in a workplace situation. In the past, students have carried out work experience placements and internships at major global organisations including Radisson Blu hotels, Hilton Worldwide and at Disneyland in Paris. “There are a range of ways that students can gain experience of the sector during their studies. We regularly invite representatives from major businesses and organisations to deliver lectures and workshops on campus,” adds Dunning. Many of the courses include a 12 month work experience placement. The institution supports its students to find a placement suitable to their career, ambitions and strengths. Many of the students have recently got placements in five star hotels in Canada, at Disneyland in France and at hotels in China, Dubai and the United States.

Students also have the opportunity to work on real consultancy projects, for instance developing responsible tourism policies for the Association of International Tour Operators and carrying out a feasibility study for a large hotel corporation. “Our graduates have excellent opportunities to keep in touch and make new friends and business contacts with fellow graduates from all over the world. We hold regular alumni events and have an active online alumni community,” avers Dunning.

The institution has an office in Delhi and the staff regularly deliver lectures and visit education fairs across India. “We have excellent partnerships and links with various institutions in India, including Christ University in Bengaluru. We are proud of our partnerships in India and we look to continue strengthening ties with the institutions we work with,” mentions Dunning.

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