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Check Out This Business School Where Wine Tasting Is On The Curriculum

EHL Hospitality Business School offers a unique b-school experience with state-of-the-art culinary facilities, and a curriculum featuring classes ranging from finance to wine tasting

By  Matt Kefford

Fri Dec 16 2022

A short drive from the picturesque serenity of Lake Geneva—not far from Lausanne, Switzerland’s fourth-largest city—you’ll find a unique business school. 

EHL Hospitality Business School (formerly Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne) is the world’s premiere hospitality management institution, according to QS. It’s one of several schools in the world’s most expensive country that focus on all things hospitality; including luxury food and world-class service.

EHL boasts a brand new campus—costing more than $260 million—complete with 12 food and beverage outlets offering up anything from fast food to a Michelin starred experience. 

Students adhere to a strict dress code of tailored suits and only the most discreet jewellery. Professors include experts in industries such as food and beverages, hotels, and some are even world-renowned pastry chefs. 

But, as the name suggests, EHL is also a business school. Students learn key business and management skills, and faculty teach unique curricula combining elements such as finance and accounting, alongside wine tasting.

A business school for hospitality leadership

The bulk of EHL students both past and present have enrolled in the school’s flagship Bachelor’s in International Hospitality Management. 

An immersive four-year degree providing practical experience ranging from housekeeping, to chocolate making, to Michelin starred service, fees for the undergraduate degree total more than $180,000 (177,000 CHF). 

But in 2014 EHL launched a Master’s In Global Hospitality Business. Today, you can study an online MBA in Hospitality, a Master’s in Wine and Hospitality, and even an Executive MBA degree. 

Unlike the undergraduate program, the graduate school enrolls students who typically already have hospitality experience and an understanding of the industry. It aims to help these students learn core management capabilities and the kind of interpersonal skills required at the top level of hospitality. 

EHL graduate programs typically prepare students for strategic and leadership roles across the likes of hotels, private members clubs, and restaurants. But some students also go into the more typical tech or consulting roles you’d see at less specialized business schools. 

“We define the graduate school not by the industry, but rather by competencies within hospitality such as dealing with human beings,” says Achim Schmitt, dean of graduate programs at EHL. 

This means that the small number of students who go into other sectors bring with them a human-centric approach, he adds. 

The EHL study experience

Studying a graduate degree at EHL is a highly rigorous academic experience. While each program varies, classes typically cover a range of subjects from organizational strategy, to motivational theories, to finance and marketing. 

Classes on the Master’s in Global Hospitality Business, for example, are delivered in blocks with entire weeks dedicated to one topic. This can be challenging if you enroll without experience in a certain function or section of the industry. 

“Classes are a big challenge, because I don’t like finance that much and for the moment we basically have weeks of real estate finance,” says Maud Bizot, a student on the program. 

Part of the school’s human centric approach, EHL also focuses on developing students’ soft skills. Stefano Borzillo teaches organizational behavior across various EHL programs. He emphasizes the school’s focus on building interpersonal capabilities. 

“[When teaching] you really want to make sure you focus on the human aspects such as development of soft skills like communication, a service approach, and emotional intelligence—these dimensions you can include in all topics,” he says.  

Gaining access to this experience won’t come cheap. Fees for the one-year MSc in Hospitality Management exceed $42,000 (39,500 CHF), while the MBA in Hospitality—80% of which is taught online—costs around $39,000 (36,920 CHF). 

Maud’s degree, the 16-month Master’s in Global Hospitality Business, is taught in locations across Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Houston. It costs around $85,000 for tuition. 

Despite the price tag, if you’re looking to launch a management career in hospitality EHL offers unique access to world-class faculty and resources. You’ll also be able to tap into the school’s illustrious network of alumni in leading hospitality positions across 150 countries. 

A platform to launch your career, EHL also offers a unique study experience on a campus boasting brand new facilities and an impressive array of food options, though you’ll have to make sure to book well in advance if you plan to eat at the school’s Michelin starred Berceau des Sens…

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