Some years ago, when most students were busy applying for the conventional undergraduate programmes at Delhi University after finishing their Class 12 exams, Karan Suri was cooking up a different course to add more flavour to his future.
A commerce student in school with a high score of 87%, he qualified for the most sought-after BCom and economics honours programmes at DU but decided to go for a professional course instead. He opted for a degree in hospitality and hotel administration from the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering & Nutrition, Pusa.
“IHM was a basic-level course that familiarised me with the four operational departments of a hotel viz kitchen, food and beverage, housekeeping and front office. A student can learn about these core areas and before the course ends decide which one to specialise in,” says Suri, who is now executive sous chef at the Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts in Chanakyapuri.
Suri is among many who are now opting for professional courses instead of pursuing a regular graduation degree from DU and swiftly climbing the ladder of success. He started his career with Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, Delhi, as sous chef and also worked with Raffles Fairmont Hotels International, Dubai, as chef de cuisine.
“I always had a flair for cooking and wanted to hone my culinary skills,” he says. Going to one of the best colleges at DU would have been an easy way for him but he thought joining the hospitality sector would be a better bet than spending three years in a top DU college as it would allow him to channelise his interests and aptitude and be more aware of industry trends.
The 28-year-old has also completed a two-year training programme at the Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development (OCLD).
OCLD is a training centre for young managers and chefs who are handpicked by the Oberoi group to train at one of their hotels in Delhi. The associates undergo rigorous training in their area of expertise and then are posted at one of the Oberoi properties. “The experience was very interesting and different at both OCLD and the hotel as going to five-star hotels and working in one are two extremes,” adds Suri who is a connoisseur of global cuisines.
He has also trained at the Oberoi hotels in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi and Agra. The degree from IHM and training at OCLD helped him grab the relevant knowledge and acquire the requisite skills. However, being a chef is not easy, says Suri, as it requires long hours at work in the pursuit of excellence. “One cannot do a degree and claim that he has become a chef. It is an ongoing learning process that one masters as the years pass,” he says.
Another student who saw brighter prospects after finishing a professional course instead of joining Delhi University is Reeti Khanna. “The BBA programme at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU) Delhi, helped me understand the workings of various sectors in management and business administration such as finance and human resources. It sharpened my managerial skills through presentations, case studies, seminars etc that helped me perform better at work. Our professors were among the best in the field and the curriculum was very refined. I also got opportunities to organise events. My internship at the Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI), a financial consultancy, where I was part of the corporate advisory group, was another plus,” says Khanna.
After getting her degree Khanna joined Capital IQ, a multi-national firm in Gurgaon as research associate. “The skills I acquired at GGSIPU and my stint at IFCI helped a lot. I feel more confident and am happy that I opted for a professional course. I never missed the fact that I was not part of DU,” she adds.
Jaspreet Kaur, a flight stewardess with Jet Airways, agrees. “Going for a professional course is a better bet than spending three years studying for a conventional degree. I had the option of going to DU as I had scored 86% in Class 12 and could have got admission to a commerce course, but since the aviation sector offered a plethora of options I joined Frankfinn Institute of Air Hostess Training for a one-year diploma in aviation, hospitality and travel management,” says Kaur.
In just a few months, Kaur has logged in several hours of flying within the country and other parts of the world such as Dubai, Doha, Singapore and Kathmandu. “One can graduate to the positions of in-flight executive and in-flight supervisor after a few years or work at various levels as part of the ground staff. My aim is to join a foreign airline in the next few years,” says Kaur, who belings to Ludhiana in Punjab.
These success stories are testimonies to the fact that you should not despair if you haven’t made it to DU. There are a whole lot of exciting options for you out there.
Exec sous chef, Leela Palaces & Resorts
IHM was a basic-level course that familiarised me with the four operational departments of a hotel viz kitchen, food and beverage, housekeeping and front office. A student can learn about these core areas and before the course ends decide which one to specialise in
Research associate, Capital IQ
The BBA programme at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University Delhi, helped me understand the workings of various sectors in management and business administration such as finance and human resources. It sharpened my managerial skills through presentations, case studies, seminars etc that helped me perform better at work
Flight stewardess with Jet Airways
Going for a professional course is a better bet than spending three years studying for a conventional degree. I had the option of getting into DU as I had scored 86% in Class 12 and could have got admitted to a commerce course. However, since the aviation sector offered good options I went in for air hostess training