Panna graduated from EHL in 2016 as major of her intake. Breaking common misconceptions about EHL graduates, Panna continued her studies at Harvard University in Law School.
Who is Panna?
My name is Panna, I am 24 years old and I was born in Budapest, Hungary. After living there for 7 years, I moved with my family to California and then to Belgium, where I finished high school. I started EHL in 2012 and graduated in 2016 – completing internships in Cyprus and London, as well as a semester abroad at Hong Kong Polytechnic University. I wrote my final thesis with Professor Hodari instead of doing an Student Business Project, which was an amazing experience - I would definitely recommend it! I learned a lot from doing academic research that I can implement in my studies now, and I really enjoyed the independence and flexibility. In my free time I love to travel and see my friends and family, who are spread out all over the world. I also enjoy exploring new cuisines and cultures, reading, stand-up comedy, arts & crafts and dancing.
My memories of EHL
My best experience at EHL was probably Grad Trip with my classmates – it was an incredible week full of laughter and amazing experiences [even private yachts and islands!]. Everyone was relaxed and happy but also aware that it would be the last week we could all spend together, so we really made the most of every minute. My funniest memory is getting stuck in a deep freezer with an AP group mate (AP means 'Preparatory Year', 1st year of the Bachelor Program) during Preparatory Kitchen class. Although I could not feel my ears after the first few minutes, I would not take back a minute of the improvised dance and karaoke session we had in there – that classmate is now my best friend and the memory still makes me smile.
Deciding to go to law school
I started thinking of going to law school pretty early in my time at EHL. As much as I loved the hospitality industry and the classes I was taking, I realized fairly quickly that I did not want to work in operations long term and that I wanted to continue to graduate studies. I was very interested in the legal aspects of the industry, such as management contract negotiations, mergers & acquisitions and employment law. I felt that there were so many areas of the hospitality industry that were influenced by the law, yet few people seemed to really understand both. I was able to explore those interests further at EHL through classes, internships and my thesis, until I was convinced it would be the right direction for me.
Applying to Harvard?
I was able to get to know multiple Professors closely at EHL [thanks to the small class sizes], who were very supportive of my application to law school and were kind enough to write me recommendation letters. Moreover, I think my international experiences and the internships I completed during my time at EHL helped set me apart from other applicants. Lastly, my thesis definitely helped me prove that I was interested in academic writing and research. In terms of how EHL has helped me since I have been here – it has definitely helped give me perspective. Sitting in the library and reading for hours on end seems a whole lot more bearable when compared to chopping onions and lifting crates at 6 am...
Arriving in Boston
Beyond the typical frustrations of moving to a new place, the most challenging part of being in Boston was leaving my family and friends in Europe behind. I miss them a lot and it is not always easy to keep in touch with the time difference and our busy schedules.
Nostalgia of EHL Switzerland
I miss my friends from EHL first and foremost. I was extremely lucky to be a part of an incredible group of people at EHL who became my second family – I really miss seeing all those friendly faces at M bar in the mornin.
Advice for future EHL students
I would say focus on the people you meet rather than any grades or substance. Those relationships are what will stay with you long after you leave and what really makes EHL special. Also, keep an open mind – you might think you know why you are applying to EHL, but I promise you the school will surprise you if you let it. Lastly, enjoy every moment at EHL; it’s an incredible and unique experience, but it really flies by…