Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL Holdings SA)
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EHL Hospitality Business School: Redefining leadership to develop tomorrow’s managers

What do a marketing specialist in luxury and a risk management specialist at UBS have in common with the CEO of Rothschild’s private Swiss bank? They’re all bachelor’s graduates of EHL Hospitality Business School – or what translates to many organisations today as an elite education on what clients and customers want and need.

EHL is boldly redefining business qualifications to produce compassionate, agile, and visionary leaders primed to maximise the strengths of the hospitality industry in other service-oriented fields, ultimately shaping the future of all industries all over the world.

That’s precisely what its graduates now do in Nestlé, Hilton, L’Oréal, Rolex, Credit Suisse, Marriott International, EY, and various other esteemed organisations. EHL graduates can be found in various industries, such as consulting, audit, accounting, legal (7%), technology, multimedia, marketing, communication (8%), retail, luxury brand, consumer goods (11%) and banking, finance and real estate (12%). The lineup’s diversity signifies how far EHL has come since its founding in 1893 as the very first Swiss hotel school.

Its evolution to a business school stems from the fact that its Bachelor in International Hospitality Management has produced leaders in sales, marketing, finance, human resources, media, technology, consultancy, entrepreneurship and more. Even the banking sector has realised the value of employing hospitality management graduates. For instance, Rothschild’s Swiss private bank has recently appointed EHL alumnus (2000) Laurent Gagnebin as CEO.

EHL’s Bachelor in International Hospitality Management: The perfect balance of theory and practice

Louise Genner from Arles didn’t let her academic background in design and architecture stop her from making her leadership dreams a reality. While eager to dive deeper into these topics, she felt a stronger urge to develop management skills. EHL presented itself as a solid choice not just because it instilled timeless business values in her father but because, to Genner, it represented “l’école de la vie,” which translates to “a school of life”.

“I instinctively want to be of service, to help the people around me create memories,” she says. “For me, hospitality management is complete, combining human aspects, coordination, and cross functional, multi-faceted management.”

Louise Genner’s current role at Hublot encompasses 360-degree marketing — from merchandising to events, media, press and e-commerce. Source: EHL Hospitality Business School

Her education was indeed complete. In the Bachelor in International Hospitality Management classroom, she explored topics like Innovation Management, Corporate Social Responsibility, Revenue Management, Law, Marketing, Macroeconomics, and Sustainable Innovations — all of which she describes as “captivating” and “fully aligned to our evolving world.”

Workshops equipped Genner with invaluable soft skills like teamwork, team dynamics, communication, adaptability, and emotional intelligence, among many others. All business schools teach complex ideas such as human resources, finance and marketing. What sets this EHL Bachelor programme apart is how it applies a customer-focused lens to every business aspect. In workshops and lessons, students like Genner not only see in real time how customer expectations are shifting dramatically but they also have the chance to brainstorm or even seize opportunities to improve service everywhere.

“We learned how to flourish in a group, and at the same time, we learned a lot about ourselves,” says Genner, who is currently a Marketing and Communication Coordinator for Hublot in Paris. “Most importantly, we learned what type of leadership we feel comfortable with. Through two internships and countless group-based workshops, I’ve learned and understood that emotional intelligence, empathy and optimism are the new allies of managers. Today, in my job, I’m learning every day how to apply this visionary foundation instilled by by undergraduate education at EHL.”

Real-world insights that boost early career prospects

Lenart Gruskovnjak from Slovenia, a fellow Bachelor in International Hospitality Management graduate (2022), believes his EHL education gave him a gist of every aspect of the hospitality industry, strengthening his ability to work with others effectively. “It familiarised me with the processes and the needs of the people performing them,” he says.

“I’ve learned it is easier to empower people when you understand their jobs and foresee possible problems and/or opportunities. It has helped me better understand challenges from different perspectives. I can now put myself in the shoes of my colleagues and clients, making it easier to find a middle ground.”

EHL Hospitality Business School

As an EHL Bachelor in International Hospitality Management graduate, Lenart Gruskovnjak felt prepared to lead in all areas of sustainability and innovation. Source: EHL Hospitality Business School

A manager in the making, Gruskovnjak is currently putting knowledge into practice at UBS as a Securities and Client Service Specialist. He credits his education for boosting his professional versatility and giving him the confidence to explore. So far at UBS, he’s been able to explore the Global Wealth Management aspect of the business, work alongside the notifications teams, conduct risk management practices for the tax department, and assist the asset transfers team on outbound and internal transfers.

A curriculum that blends hospitality, management and soft skills

The Bachelor in International Hospitality Management’s hands-on approach ensures outcomes like Genner’s and Gruskovnjak’s. The is all about immersing students in what excellent service looks like. Throughout the rest of their time at EHL, they visit thriving businesses. They attend on-campus events (Career Fair at EHL) and network with the experts who arrive weekly to share key insights directly from their respective industries. Through simulations, case studies and  , students bridge the gap between the theoretical and the practical.

While the development of core life skills and the comprehension of complex business ideas might be difficult elsewhere, within the embrace of EHL’s tightly-knit family, students here find it almost second nature. Here, the atmosphere encourages anyone to approach anyone, staff or student, for a meaningful conversation. It’s this very family culture that creates connections that last a lifetime, reiterating the institution’s focus on producing professionals capable of bridging the gap between technical business knowledge and the human-centred approach required for leadership.

“I’ve learned at EHL that compassionate leadership focuses on relationships — with leaders carefully listening to, understanding, empathising with and supporting their team members so they do their best work,” affirms Gruskovnjak. “I will always believe in the importance of promoting a healthy work environment where people are not afraid to speak up.”

To start writing your EHL success story, click here to apply to the Bachelor in International Hospitality Management.

For more insights on programmes, campuses and student life, read the EHL Hospitality Business School blog.

Discover a day in the life of an EHL Hospitality Business School student here