Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS)
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Swiss Hotel Management School (SHMS)

For international students intent on earning high level credentials that they can carry into the hospitality industry, there is no better place to study than in Switzerland. The Swiss Hotel Management School is particularly successful, thanks largely to the distinct, international atmosphere maintained on campus.

You’ll be encouraged to adopt the “Swiss Hospitality Touch”, a phenomenon born out of the longstanding leadership role that Switzerland has played in international tourism. You’ll be learning from some of the key players in 21st-century hospitality and when you graduate you’ll have access to the university’s expansive network of hospitality leaders across the world. In short, you’ll be on your way to one of the most competitive careers in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Students from 65 different countries converge on SHMS’s two campuses each year. This fosters a dynamic, international atmosphere that consistently draws top students from Europe, Asia and North America. After three years of study at SHMS, you’ll emerge with a broad, multicultural view of the world, which is integral to any successful career in hospitality.

Every student completes at least two internships during their course of study at SHMS – more if they go on to earn a bachelor of arts degree. This real industry experience spells a clear-cut advantage for fresh graduates, who already have résumé experience to add to their educational credentials. The internship office helps with placements, which can be in Switzerland or abroad. You’ll enjoy the opportunity to work with family-run hotels and five-star resorts alike.

The career opportunities available to graduates of SHMS are unrivaled. You’ll come out of your course of study with credentials widely accepted in Switzerland, but you’ll also get the chance to temper this with international credentials recognized in other parts of Europe and North America. In short, you’ll be equipped for immediate career placement anywhere in the world.

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The Leysin campus at SHMS. Pic: AP.

Study in the heartland of hospitality

Switzerland has been a key player – if not the key player – in hospitality studies for more than a century. It could be easily argued that the Swiss have done for hospitality and tourism what the French did for the culinary arts.

The old-world hotels of Switzerland are palatial, and the first generation of hoteliers who founded the hospitality industry as it is today catered to aristocrats, royalty and Alps-bound socialites. Today, the professors and industry experts working at SHMS are direct ideological descendents of those pioneers in hospitality.

Many private hotel management schools offer English language curriculum – it’s practically a necessity in today’s global economy. But this is the largest English-speaking hotel management school in a country that can’t be rivaled when it comes to prestige in hospitality. For those looking in from abroad, SHMS easily tops the list.

For rising professionals with an eye to the future, the hospitality industry is particularly alluring. It keeps growing; in fact, the World Travel Organization looks for the industry to triple in size by the end of this decade. If you think possibilities are lurking now, just wait until the year 2020. Students with a hotel management-related degree from what is easily the heartland of hotel management will have a clear advantage over their less qualified peers.

SHMS academics

As a student at the Swiss Hotel Management School, you’ll benefit from a mixture of traditional hospitality instruction and 21st-century leadership instruction. SHMS curriculum is modern and cutting-edge, but the faculty are careful to preserve the traditions that have made Swiss hospitality so great.

The undergraduate programs on offer at SHMS span three years, each of which includes a four to six-month internship. This mixture of classroom and real-world training produces well-rounded students. Students are awarded a Swiss Diploma at the end of year two. The first semester of year three produces a Swiss Higher Diploma, and the final internship results in a Bachelor of Arts degree.

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The Swiss Diploma qualifies students for hotel operational management. Specialization kicks in after this, with students selecting a specific study track in their third year. The actual degree students earn during the third year will be in one of the following areas:

  • hospitality management
  • hospitality and events management
  • tourism management
  • hospitality and tourism management
  • hospitality management and culinary arts
  • events management

You’ll also have the option of picking up other qualifications along the way. For example, the American Hotel and Lodging Association has a diploma in hospitality management on offer, while the University of Derby offers a British bachelor of arts degree. Both of these are available in the third year, and they combine to give students from Asia and elsewhere the chance to convert their Swiss education into a high-powered career in just about any city on earth.

Diversity

The size and diversity of SHMS’s student body is a clear indicator of how successful this program is. The fact that SHMS offers all of its coursework in English makes it especially popular for students hailing from Asia and other parts of the world. You’ll enjoy a welcoming atmosphere year round, but the highlight is definitely in late November when International Day is staged.

Visiting VIPs from all over the world show up for the event. Ambassadors from Malaysia, Lebanon and Zimbabwe have been on previous guest lists, and the students band together to showcase the cultural diversity of SHMS. Of course, you can imagine how successful a day like this turns out when students who are studying hospitality and hotel management work together to plan cocktail events, dances and banquets. It’s no wonder that guests are eager to return year after year.

As far as classroom performance is concerned, English proficiency is a must. For students who feel that they need to work on their English first, the school offers a 4- to 16-week course at the SEG Language Centre on the Leysin campus. You’ll enjoy enthusiastic support from the faculty and the student body throughout your experience, as diversity and multiculturalism is an integral part of the hospitality industry.

With that in mind, you may also want to add another language or two to your repertoire. Switzerland has a staggering four official languages, so you will never be short of opportunities to learn more. Classes are offered Spanish, French and German. With a language toolkit like this, you’ll be one of the finest hotel managers in the world of hospitality.

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Pic: SHMS.

Campus life

The quality of life in Switzerland is exceptional, and students based at either the Caux or Leysin campuses have a unique opportunity to enjoy local festivals and sporting events. Beyond this, Switzerland’s central location makes this an ideal base from which to see the whole of Europe. Extended weekends and holidays are ideal for touring.

Planned excursions are a particularly important part of student life on the Leysin campus, given its remote location in the Alps. SHMS hosts regular planned outings to enrich student life. Look for weekend concerts, trips to the cinema, karaoke nights, disco weekends and planned barbecues.

Caux Campus

The Caux campus is tucked into Caux Palace and is equipped with three student restaurants, computer areas and an internet café. Students can choose from a range of in-palace accommodation. There are three categories on offer – standard, deluxe and superior deluxe. The finer rooms offer lake views and are outfitted with televisions and entertainment units. All include wireless internet access.

An on-campus sport and leisure manager coordinates activities and events throughout the year. More than a dozen sports are on offer, including equestrian activities, windsurfing, sailing and water skiing on the lake, and mountain biking. Beyond this, the usual set of basketball, volleyball, soccer and tennis are widely enjoyed.

Leysin Campus

The Leysin campus takes students to a real ski resort in the French-speaking portion of Switzerland. Trains run here from Zurich and Geneva, so a weekend away is always a prime possibility. An on-campus sky train links the Belvédère and Mont-Blanc Palace, two stoic hotels brimming with atmosphere.

Accommodation is in either of these hotels and features the same divisions seen on the Caux campus. Campus facilities are also similar, except that Leysin has an operational sauna, spa and steam room open to students.

There’s plenty to get involved with at Leysin. Free yoga and dance classes are on offer, and students are always welcome at the ice skating rink or swimming pool. SHMS also provides twice-weekly transport to the Leysin Sports Centre, where students can play volleyball, soccer and basketball. During the February semester, a trio of lift passes is made available to skiers and snowboarders.

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