When people speak of hospitality management schools, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) and Cornell University are customarily considered together as “the best hospitality management schools in the world”.
In fact, the two schools’ mutual respect for each other goes beyond education and is a cradle of many romances. I (EHL Bachelor student) have been the direct witness of such relationship and watched an EHL-Cornell couple attempt to settle which school should be crowned “the world’s best” when it comes to hospitality management studies.
As a witness to their frequent yet friendly verbal sparring, I shall attempt to report them here and (almost!) objectively compare the two prominent schools.
EHL: The schedule for the next term is out. Nine courses! It’s 8 to 5 non-stop all over again. Cornell: So many? What are you guys studying? EHL: French, law, marketing, financial analysis, organizational behavior, statistics, and academic writing and so on. Cornell: (Scratching his head) Well… You are taught general topics versus specializing in one area. EHL: Have you ever seen a CEO who can only read financial reports?
As opposed to traditional universities, EHL’s bachelor program is mainly composed of mandatory courses. Electives are only introduced during the last semester. Although this may seem different than classical humanities, EHL can then guarantee its students are versed in every aspect of the profession.
On the contrary, Cornell adopts the credit system, allowing students to choose courses based on their interests and have a deeper and more thorough study on the selected subjects.
Hence the saying in the industry: “Specialists from Cornell, Versatilists from EHL.” The emphases of the curriculums are different, surely the talents cultivated also have different strengths!
Cornell: My friend is going to intern on Wall Street! EHL: My classmate is going to the Big 4 as well! Cornell: Big 4! That’s no big deal at Cornell. Next time I’ll introduce you to the bros working at Blackstone. EHL: No kidding!
As a member of the Ivy League, Cornell has long focused on hotel and property investment analysis. Its graduates naturally are more apt to choose fields of study related to finance and analysis, such as accounting and finance, investment management, and property management.
On the other hand, as the first school of hospitality management in the world, EHL has kept, for the most part, the essence of a traditional Swiss hospitality management curriculum. Nevertheless, with the development of the industry, EHL has broadened its reach and prepares its students to work with luxury brands, banking, finance and even accounting or auditing.. During classes, professors still focus on providing and analysing case studies in the service industry for students to deliberate and contemplate.
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Note: This article was written by an EHL student with the participation of a hospitality management student at Cornell University. Please advise us of any improprieties and excuse us for any omissions.