Johan Stromsater, vice president of global enrolment, Laureate Hospitality and Culinary Education, talks about the trends and importance of international hospitality education, what the Laureate institutions offer to students and more. Excerpts from an interview.
What does Laureate offer to students?
Laureate Hospitality Education offers an education in management, focused on the hospitality industry. Our students follow diverse career paths inside and outside the industry, from marketing to finance and human resources, in sectors such as luxury brands, entertainment and sports. For example, we currently have Glion graduates working for Rolex, renowned for its high-end watches and jewellery. By the same token, many international companies such as Bloomberg TV, JP Morgan and Louis Vuitton, which are outside the traditional scope of the hospitality industry, recruit graduates from our schools.
What is the importance of skilling for hospitality ­graduates?
It is important because of the nature and complexity of the different functions and teamwork necessary for successfully running a hotel or an event. In our hospitality management programmes, students are trained in both the theoretical and practical aspects of the hospitality industry. The training on campus is complemented by a six-month internship.
For example, at Les Roches, Glion and Blue Mountains, there are two internships throughout the academic programme. Students depart on their second internship, this time exercising skills in the areas of project management, communication, marketing, finance and many more, either in cross-training or in specific departments.
How do you see the growth of culinary education as a ­sector?
At the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts, we’ve noticed the demand for culinary education is at an all-time high. Every year, the global hospitality and tourism sector has grown. The overall economic impact of the restaurant industry is estimated at $1.8 trillion, and the culinary field is expected to add 1.3 million jobs over the next decade (National Restaurant Association Industry Impact). The demand will call for educated culinary professionals who can run a kitchen and move into managerial roles.
Is LHE planning any ­initiatives to attract Indian ­students?
We have had some India-specific initiatives in the past. For example, last year our Swiss schools, Les Roches and Glion, decided to fix the exchange rate of the Indian rupee for Indian students for the January 2014 academic session onwards. This measure was put in place to allow Indian students aspiring to pursue academic programmes in these institutes to budget for their entire period required to complete a degree, given the significant fluctuations in the rupee at the time.