Sebastian Armentano comes from the world of hotels. Boasting a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from the Institute of Hospitality in Prague, he’s gained a good working experience at hotels before and throughout his studies. These days, however, he is pursuing an MSc in Luxury Management and Guest Experience, and an MSc in Hospitality, Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Glion Institute of Higher Education (GIHE).
“What made me choose studying in Switzerland was the fact that it is the cradle of hospitality. The teachers in general are professionals who are highly respected in their fields on a global scale,” Armentano says. Find out more on what he has to say about hospitality at GIHE and Switzerland below:
What do you like most about studying at GIHE in Switzerland?
I like that the teachers at GIHE treat us as equals, they want us to succeed and are great reference points for us students. They are always on hand to answer our questions and help with your ideas — which makes them an invaluable source for us and our careers.
In addition, our classes are in blocks, one week is for one subject and one teacher. I find this way of teaching unique in a sense that the subjects taught are well-formed in your mind and act as a skill set that prepares you for real-life situations.
A final reason for me to choose GIHE is that we truly get to work with students from all over the world. The fact that the school is so diverse helped me on a personal level to be a better and more respectful person.
What was the application like for the course you’re doing at GIHE?
Very simple. GIHE’s website is extremely easy to browse, after applying I was contacted by a representative of Glion in Prague — Mrs. Lebedeva — for a face-to-face meeting. I also had the opportunity to go to Switzerland to see other schools as well, but GIHE was the one for me.
I am aware that non-EU students need to have visas, a process with which the school helps a lot and that I recommend doing it in advance as the process can take up to six months. Also at GIHE, I had the chance to opt for the meal plan which I highly recommend for master’s students as it is easier on your wallet.
With regards to accommodation, I believe it is better to live off-campus if you are studying consecutive semesters as you have more freedom to partake in social activities. On-campus there is a strict rule for no visitors after 10 p.m. and no alcohol!
What are you studying? Walk us through it.
The theoretical part is for two semesters, and the third component is for an internship and a Business Research Project. The first two semesters include two field trips, one in Paris and one in Milan. In these field trips, we had to interact with companies like Louis Vuitton, Baccarat, Veuve Clicquot and so on. Getting to meet the HR managers and recruiters from these companies was quite exciting.
Then we got to meet people like Matthieu Van-Tran who works for Google in Paris and taught us about data analysis. Meeting influential people was very eye-opening for me, and getting the chance to contact and propose ideas to all these different companies.
Tell us about your fondest memory at GIHE.
I remember completing a hackathon for a hotel group. We were given a task of coming up with ideas for this hotel group on how to emotionally retain a guest. We had two days to develop this idea covering all aspects such as financing, marketing, structure, space, and more.
It felt like a seemingly impossible task at the start. At the end of the second day, however, all groups had to pitch their idea. One of the groups even had a visual representation in a form of a cocktail design which was very creative.
What do you enjoy doing in Switzerland, when you’re not in class?
We have a Student Government Association, which organises fun events, sporting events and sometimes parties at nightclubs. We also have the Glion Ambassadors who take care of Open Days and the people who come visit the school. Then we have committees, like the Wine Committee — if you are part of it, you get to taste different ones on organised nights with a sommelier.
There is also a gym in school and we have free access to a pool in the city of Montreux. At Glion, we also have a restaurant and bar called “Club” with an amazing terrace with a view of the lake which is perfect for after school studies.
Our school also organises skiing trips as the mountains are nearby, and if the school doesn’t then there are many students with cars who are more than willing to take you along. Moreover, Montreaux is the city of jazz and has one of the most globally recognised jazz festivals every year. Getting to know Switzerland from my school is very accessible and fun.
What are your top recommendations for others planning to study in Switzerland?
Don’t be scared, I recommend getting to know as many people as you can during the beginning and just be yourself. People are happy to welcome you, Switzerland is a great melting pot of diverse cultures and global citizens.
Make your assignments your priority, then enjoy life in Switzerland. Don’t be afraid to ask your teachers questions, that’s what they’re there for — to help you become a better you.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are currently unclear. Firstly, I have to finish my Business Research Project for my master’s degree in luxury management and guest experience, then I have to finish my second semester of my master’s in hospitality, entrepreneurship and innovation while doing an internship or working directly with a hotel for next summer.
That is the plan for now until the end of 2021. In the future , I would like to have a goal of becoming a regional general manager for a hotel chain. After that, I would like to open my own luxury family hotel in Europe.