After years of working as the director of a travel agency, Mark Wright enrolled in EHL’s Executive MBA in Hospitality program so that he could “further my education and make the sideways shift from tour operator to hotelier,” as he puts it. Wright reached his objective shortly after completing his EMBA in 2016 when he became the General Manager of an exclusive luxury resort in Bhutan.
“The EMBA courses taught me so much that I was not expecting,” explains Wright, mentioning the industry resources, networking and extracurricular activities on-campus that make the EMBA perfect for hospitality career-changers.
“From the academic skills in finance and revenue management to the softer Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills and time management, I learned to juggle many projects at once, which is good preparation for working in a hotel,” he says.
Wright is not alone in his observations, the recent alumni of EHL’s Executive MBA in Hospitality speak about how the EMBA gave them more than just business expertise, which allowed them to make a career shift or become entrepreneurs in the world of hospitality.
Skills to create and innovate
Creativity may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of an Executive MBA, but learning how to tap into creative energy and make innovation work is a key component of the EMBA experience.
"My company, 1984 Events, was actually conceived at EHL,” says Adrien Maubourguet, 2014 EMBA graduate and founder of an event production company 1984 Events. “The inspiration came from the lecturers and students, fueled by the thrilling atmosphere. There is definitely magic at EHL. That's what I tried to reproduce with 1984 Events: to create magic and use creative minds from all over the world.”
To master that creativity and turn it into a successful business, Maubourguet credits the EMBA for giving him a solid foundation of hospitality know-how which gave him the confidence to start his business.
A powerful professional network
Delivered on campus in Switzerland, the EMBA allows students to meet industry leaders and form connections, and then join the EHL alumni association. Maubourguet adds that the EHL network has given him connections for clients and collaboration. “I would say over 30% of my clients come from the EHL network, from all around the world," he says.
Heleri Rande, EMBA 2014graduate, agrees: “I chose EHL for my EMBA because it provides an unparalleled network in the world of hospitality. I use our alumni network almost on a daily basis now, it’s priceless.”
With her EMBA, Rande changed her career path from finance to consulting, she is now a founding partner of BIF Consulting and the co-organizer and Head of Operations for SAUCE Forum.
Tools and techniques for the industry
To prepare executives for the future of hospitality, the EMBA program includes lectures by faculty who are leaders in the field, industry conferences and events. This industry exposure teaches students to use the latest tools and techniques to solve challenges and capitalize on industry trends.
“The industry exposure we got in the classroom, and through outside events put on by the school in Lausanne and abroad, became invaluable to me. I have used what I learned there every day in applying for jobs and seeking advice from like-minded career professionals,” Mark Wright adds.
Shortly after completing his EMBA in 2016, Wright got hired as the General Manager of the Gangtey Goenpa Lodge, an exclusive luxury resort in Bhutan.
Real-world project experience
Lily Haydock, EMBA 2016 graduate, also emphasized the quality of interaction with the industry during the program.
“Our class schedule was rigorous, and the program also offered additional enrichment electives including public speaking seminars and an industry field trip to Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Macau,” Haydock says. “Our classes included projects for hotels and hotel management companies, culminating in a 10-month Capstone project during which my team developed a digital strategy for a luxury Swiss sport resort.”
Haydock found that the holistic nature of the program offered a rich and meaningful experience that allowed her to better understand global hospitality and gave her insights as to how to address the key challenges facing the industry. Ultimately, she leveraged the EHL network and landed a job at a major U.S. lodging Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). She currently works as the Senior Asset Management Analyst, Hersha Hospitality Trust, in Philadelphia, USA.
Finally, the EMBA experience on campus brings students into the heart of the EHL community where they form friendships and professional connections that will last a lifetime.
“The year I spent on campus was probably the most fun I had ever experienced. Our class had 18 students covering 15 nationalities. I made life-long friends and we all still keep in touch. I also continue to work with the school frequently, I am part of the UK alumni committee and I regularly speak to students on campus and keep in touch with many professors,” says Rand.
Wright also appreciated the balance of courses with social life on campus: “We didn’t just concentrate on the studies, or the extra-curricular activities or the networking, the program combined all those aspects in healthy blend, and it was something I thoroughly enjoyed doing,” he says.
EHL’s Executive MBA in Hospitality is specifically designed to develop the skills, tools and resources that managers need to be successful business leaders. Plus, it offers networking opportunities and cultural experiences that are extremely valuable for the hospitality industry where who you know is just as important as what you know, and interpersonal skills and culture are just as essential as business skills.