Persistence prevails: The advice of an EHL alumni

15 Dec, 2017

Often in our lives we wonder if we should stay on the path we have chosen or if we should make a ‘U’ turn?

Our Alumni suggests that persistence is the key to guarantee greater success and achievement. Discover his story:

Could you introduce yourself ? 

My name is Sebastian, I’m German, born in Luxembourg. Since EHL I’ve been busy building a company with my business partner Marcus Schwander (also Alumni). I enjoy travel and the diversity of humankind, I cook, ski and like reinventing the world with old friends over a glass of wine.

What triggered you to create your business “Lang & Schwander – Hotel interiors”? 

We knew we wouldn’t stay behind the front desk. First, we wanted to supply hotels with products and in form of a trading activity and over time we morphed into manufacturers of FF&E (hotel furniture). At this point we also offer Interior Design for hotels as a standalone service but most clients see added value in hiring us for both. The idea is to avoid value engineering and streamline liability for the FF&E all the way through hand-over and opening. So, in short, it was not always a dream of ours but we had the business plan ready for our parents the day of graduation and have continuously shaped our products and services according to the needs of the market. We are positioned in a small niche and hope to further establish ourselves over time.

In what ways has EHL and its degree helped you reach the career path you are on now?

First of all, we know each other from EHL and continue to do business with people from EHL. Only now I really understand the value of the network we have through EHL and the people we formerly studied with. As far as the academics are concerned, it’s an all round approach focusing on efficiency, professionalism and service we keep on using every day.

What kind of projects does your team work on?

We have lately worked on a lot of new –builts in the LATAM region, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, also Independent hotels that are 4-5 stars. We are currently working on our first all-inclusive resort in San Andres, Colombia – quite a different product but very interesting. Here some general info:

What has been the most exciting experience within your career so far?

That persistence prevails and if you provide a solution for people, success will be the consequence. The road is rocky and far but good and honest business is that way. We often get compliments from repeat clients for us as people and our business, that’s the best reward.

In regards to EHL, what are the most fun memories that come to your mind when you reminisce about your studies at EHL?

The most fun ones I would not disclose as part of this document at this point in time;-)

Drinking wine on a bench in the vineyards overlooking Evian, skiing, having all those interesting student colleagues around at all times. Learning how to be a professional and adult while having tremendous fun.

Once accepted to EHL, we say “Welcome to the EHL family”. Two current EHL students are interning with you in Miami at the moment. What do you appreciate the most about this extensive network?

It’s incredible how we share common set of values, a behavior code that is hard to find elsewhere. Even though our interns remain the same age every year, we get older but it’s as if we speak the same language. We think the internship with us is a great experience for the interns as they can relate to us, we equally benefit from their enthusiasm and creativity. Every semester that passes in which we don’t have EHL interns it feels like we’re missing something.

Do you have any recommendations for potential future EHL students?

Personally, I was not ready to know what I wanted to be when applying to EHL, I think EHL provides an incredible platform as an industry professional and sound human being to build from. Some do this in form of internships, others in form of a master, some might even start their own company and learn by doing. I would choose it over another university again anytime, it’s old-world and 21st century, cook school and business school, broad studies and specialization all in one.

Photo credit: Lang & Schwander

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