The International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef (IUBH)
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The International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef (IUBH)

In your search for the perfect place to study hospitality and tourism management, you’ll be faced with a gamut of choices. The trick is finding a school that’s as committed to modern trends in tourism as it is to that old-world regalia that still underlies international hospitality.

This is a difficult prospect, and it’s one that the International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef (IUBH) pulls off to great effect. As the leading university for Hospitality Management in Germany, IUBH is an obvious first choice for rising professionals in Central Europe, but the university’s far-reaching international network and world-class instruction is also making it an attractive option for students from Asia and elsewhere.

IUBH is a member of the “Leading Hotel Schools of the World”, an organization populated by schools with the best hotel management programs available. It’s an elite group, and IUBH’s induction gives its graduates an immediate and obvious advantage in the career search.

For students from Asia and abroad, two of the most attractive programs on offer here are the international hospitality management and international tourism management programs. Both offer bachelor of arts degrees and take seven semesters to complete, with the last semester carried out in another country through a partner university.

IUBH takes a “from-scratch” approach to learning the fundamentals of hospitality. You’ll learn fine-dining protocol in the university’s practice restaurant, shadow world-class chefs in the demonstration kitchen and learn trade secrets in the wine lab. On the management front, you’ll develop a highly competitive set of leadership skills in the classroom and in practicum.

But don’t be deterred by the intensive approach IUBH brings to the table. This is still a university complete with a dynamic student activities scene. Clubs, societies and sporting groups ensure weekends are never boring. Meanwhile, the entertainment scene in Bad Honnef – fueled by one of Germany’s wealthiest bases of socialites – is never dull.


Pic: IUBH.

Furthermore, students studying hospitality and management at IUBH are encouraged to strike out on “experiential field trips” that sweep them away on behind-the-scenes tours of some of the world’s leading tourism destinations. Imagine the benefit of a backstage pass to one of the world’s most successful casinos, or of planning and implementing a research project in a major tourist haven. It’s all part of the coursework at IUBH; and it consistently yields some of the hospitality industry’s most promising leaders.

A well-rounded degree

In an age where specialization often trumps broad-spectrum understanding, the giants of the hospitality industry are noting a trend among incoming applicants. Today’s rising professionals may have a firm nuts-and-bolts grasp of hospitality management; however, applicants with well-grounded experience are conspicuously missing.

But this 21st-century trend spells an advantage for IUBH graduates. As a student, you’ll benefit from targeted coursework, but not at the expense of your own marketability. Every technical training class you’re enrolled in is balanced by a chance for hands-on application. Likewise, highly specific coursework (say, in rooms division management or hotel engineering) doesn’t come at the expense of foreign language or computer skills.

These three core elements underpin the educational experience at IUBH:

  • Business economics: is the cornerstone of any management degree. For all the practical experience IUBH students gain in hospitality labs, practice kitchens and real-life internships, they still emerge from the program with a competitive foundation in finance and accounting, mathematics, integrated service management and mathematics.
  • Industry-specific courses: encourage IUBH students to grapple with the home-cooked fundamentals of hospitality. Every graduate is equipped with in-depth understanding of management in fields like rooms division management, hotel engineering or restaurant management.
  • Skills courses: take all of the practical information students have learned and flesh it out with highly relevant coursework in areas like foreign language, business communication or computer training.

But none of this comes at the expense of hands-on learning. In your first two semesters at IUBH, you will enter the “Practical Programme”, which introduces students to the on-the-ground realities of hospitality management. You’ll benefit from wine seminars, nutritional training and real-time experience in the university’s restaurant and kitchen. You will also have the chance plan, organize and run the Student Gala Dinner – and all this in the program’s first year.

Finally, set yourself apart in your first three years at IUBH, and you’ll be offered the opportunity to study abroad. The program’s partner network spans Europe, Asia Pacific and North America, with a host of schools ready to accept prominent IUBH students for their final semester of study.

With all of this behind you, you’ll emerge from IUBH with an edge that sets you apart from the typical up-and-coming hospitality manager, providing inroads to dynamic career opportunities all over the world.

Real-world experience

It’s not all coursework and theory in the International School of Hospitality and Management. Students have the opportunity to break out of the university scene and explore some of the world’s most exciting and dynamic hospitality scenes.

Every year, the school offers one or more “experiential field trips”. Before embarking, students form groups, review literature and propose research projects that they can conduct on the road. Once on the scene, they’ll attend seminars, conduct interviews and enjoy unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to some of the world’s most successful hotels and tourism attractions.

An annual trip to Las Vegas is now several years in the making at IUBH. It’s hard to imagine a more relevant place for students of hospitality management to see the principals they’re learning set in motion. But then again, it’s also hard to imagine a better venue for getting to know your fellow classmates and professors. It’s a win-win to be sure.

On the most recent expedition to Vegas, students toured the banquet kitchen at the Rio Las Vegas; learned first-hand about the revenue strategies of Hurrah’s; spearheaded research into how poker tournaments are influencing tourism in Las Vegas; and toured a surveillance laboratory that develops technology for mega-casinos.

As enriching as an opportunity like this is, there’s still ample opportunity to have a good time. A couple of years back, one of the students took a few dollars to the roulette table on the group’s first night in Vegas. In one fell swoop, he turned that minor investment into a healthy bankroll that he spent on the entire group. That’s a 10-day adventure no one will forget.


Pic: IUBH.

Campus life

At IUBH a reputation in industry excellence doesn’t come at the expense of an exciting campus atmosphere. Whether its lunch in the cafeteria, life in the student apartments or participation in a host of societies and sports teams, students at IUBH have the chance to connect and build professional networks.

The campus’ club offerings are arts oriented. The IUBH drama club stages regular performances and is always in search of talented members who can help out on stage and off. A photography group and an off-beat knitting group round out the offerings.

For those who’d sooner run a mile than spend a minute on stage, the campus offers an ever-growing roster of sporting groups. Major campus sports include tennis, rugby, basketball, volleyball, cycling and hockey. Dance troupes and a kickboxing club are also active. All meet at least once a week, so an active lifestyle is easy to maintain.

Campus societies go a step further and help students plug into campus life while building their professional résumé. The IUBH wine club – Grape(s)ociety – brings world-renown wine makers and sommeliers to campus on a regular basis, fostering experience that translates directly into careers in restaurant or hotel management. Meanwhile, joining the Lion’s Club or the Student Marketing Association are as important for building relationships on campus as they are for gaining leadership experience and networking opportunities abroad.

The Bad Honnef community

More often than not, leading hospitality schools grow organically out of well known tourism destinations. Bad Honnef has been on tourists’ radars since the late nineteenth century when a local mineral spring was discovered.

Drachenquelle (literally, “Dragon Spring”) took a region that was already known for its wine production and transformed it into a spa resort. Decades later, savvy tourism professionals started attracting conferences thanks to the town’s proximity to Bonn.

For students at IUBH, this translates into meaningful, real-world experience. There’s no need to engineer training scenarios that feel false and inauthentic with a constant stream of enthusiastic, international tourists passing through town.

And even in the off season, hospitality prevails in Bad Honnef. The president of Germany lives here, joined by one of the highest percentage of millionaire residents of any town in the country. These are people who know and appreciate the finer points in hospitality. Learn to cater for them, and you’ll be on your way to industry leadership.

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