Many of our students ask us whether education or hands-on experience matters more to employers. The reality is, this answer largely depends on the employer itself; but nearly 7 of 10 employers hire from their internship programs according to Forbes. While missing out on an internship experience won't completely exclude students from landing a job, having hands-on experience certainly helps.
As the global economy continues to improve and entry-level jobs continue to expand, top hospitality employers will expect their newest employees to hit the ground running. A blend of technical knowledge and experiential learning will ensure students are well prepared for any situation that may arise. For this reason, we recommend that all students seek internships and other opportunities that will expose them to the real-world job market prior to their first full-time placement. Exposure to hands-on work skills will prepare them for success and accelerate the promotion and development process.
Students graduating in 2015 and 2016 are enjoying high placement levels up to 98%. After the global and American recession in 2008, the increase in these statistics suggests that the return on investment for education is finally starting to pay off. Just five years ago, students were being placed at levels as low as 20% to 50% depending on their background and desired employment. Traditionally, education has been many young employees' first step in the door. However, when the recession hit, many students simply couldn't justify the expense without knowing they would be placed after they completed their studies. As the job market improves, investing in education has yet again become a valuable first step in training tomorrow's leaders.
Because neither education nor work skills can fully prepare new employees for the workforce, most hospitality employers look for a blend of both types of knowledge. This also allows students who excelled in one discipline more than another, or who are slightly unbalanced in their training to compensate for any gaps on their resume through either education or work experience. Knowing that employers are looking for both book and practical knowledge is especially valuable for new employees who are unable to get an internship in their desired field or who don't have access to the hospitality training of their choice.
Being a well rounded candidate and - above all else - exhibiting a desire to roll up your sleeves and learn is one of the most attractive qualities in an employee. Regardless of a student's background, we recommend that any future leader in the hospitality industry should highlight their strongest assets on their resume and continuously seek ways to take on side work or extra courses (even if they can only take them online or audit them) to illustrate this point. In hospitality, the sky truly is the limit. One day, you might be a pool valet, and the next you could be the vice president of a resort chain. It all starts with a dream.
At EHL, we pride ourselves on delivering the best of both worlds. Students enjoy a rigorous academic program, complemented by global internship opportunities that prepare them for the most competitive hospitality jobs in the market. Our philosophy is that education creates a critical foundation for success, and work experience puts that philosophy into practice.
Check out the video below to discover some of the famous companies that met with our students at our last Career Fair !