“I can focus not only on hospitality, but also on science and technology to keep my entrepreneurial spirit open and fresh,” says Balamurugan, who goes by the name “Bala” on the campus nestled in the hills in the south. above Montruex and offers a spectacular view of the Alps and Lake Geneva.
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Away from the tropical climes of his own city in Chennai, Bala has fitted in well with the multicultural student community that he says is essential for a career in hospitality. Its campus is packed with activities ranging from sports competitions to art sessions, dinner parties and more. “Each student should join a committee as it will allow them to explore their creative interests, while developing leadership and management skills by organizing events and activities,” says Bala.
His curriculum, which prepared him to identify a business model through design thinking and creativity, places students in an industrial reality. “We’re asked to work on real business situations as consultants, which helps us get real-time feedback on our assignments and thought process,” adds Bala.
In terms of structure, its curriculum is organized into different modules, and each has courses associated with them. “For university courses, we offer four different modules: Hotel Operations, Disruption and Talent Management, Innovation and Entrepreneurship: From Idea to Business Model, Scaling Your Business: Digitalization and Market Strategy, and Life Cycle financial and financing. Each of them focuses on specific themes essential to business creation, and each course offers activities to develop both theoretical knowledge and soft skills. My favorite classes were creativity and innovation in hospitality, design thinking and the process of creating start-ups and identifying the business model, where we worked on a business idea for a month and then pitched our concept to real investors,” says Bala.
His Semester 1 course also includes a field business trip, for which Bala traveled to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. “The trip is always organized in a state-of-the-art hotel destination to inspire, meet experts and network. In Amsterdam, we saw companies that genuinely focus on sustainability. We also met a company focused on blockchain technologies and it was interesting to see how they developed a process for creating their own bitcoins. Having perspectives from different companies was both amazing and rewarding,” he says.
In semester 2, students like him work on organizing an innovation fair, where they put into practice the skills acquired during the first semester.
Currently in the last and third semester of his 2-year course, Bala has the choice between undertaking a 6-month internship or a research project in a company on a subject that interests him. “The institute has a career and internship department that guides students in finding internships or jobs worldwide through its career portal,” says Bala, drawing up his own business start-up plans. in Europe with one of his classmates at the hotel institute.
He is grateful to his father who runs an event management company and catering business in Chennai. “From an early age, I would go with him and observe the details. He taught me that hospitality is an emotional bond between human beings. I hope to live up to that belief,” says Bala, determined to carry on his family legacy.