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How hospitality education develops an entrepreneurial mindset

Carlos Diez de la LastraCarlos Diez de la Lastra, CEO, Les Roches

The hospitality industry thrives on innovation. Head to any hotel, restaurant, real estate firm or luxury brand in any corner of the planet, and ‘new’ is a currency that’s always accepted. Few industries are as relentlessly inventive or evolutionary. And as a result, hospitality education’s role is to prepare graduates for this reality and for the opportunities it presents.

The best hospitality schools enable students to acquire more than knowledge, they provide a learning experience that develops a leadership skill set. At Les Roches, from day one on campus our students are trained to become leaders. From semester one, they learn by doing, undertaking work in the true essence of an entrepreneur. And by semester two they’re out in the professional world for their internship, applying what they’ve learned and feeling challenged. When they return to Les Roches campus for semester three, we can see they’ve grown up, displaying more of the resilience and discipline needed to lead people and businesses.

From class project to a business

Back in the classroom, this professional world exposure is underpinned with leadership level expertise that enables graduates to guide businesses in any industry they choose. From customer service training to operations and systems, students acquire the hard business skills they’ll need as entrepreneurs to run an operation, secure investment and deliver success.

Les Roches graduates Sharon Lee and Javier Perez are a great example of what this educational approach enables. Using the experience they gained on internships, these young entrepreneurs turned a class project into a business after graduation. Their F&B venture Series of Intentions (SOI) comprises a collection of modern food destinations across Singapore and Bali. The venues are typified by an informal dining space with a shared table experience, offering hearty food and encouraging good conversation. The concept has been well-received and the business has plans to expand across South East Asia.

And Sharon and Javier are not alone. Figures show that one in three Les Roches graduates go on to run their own business. As a school, we actively nurture entrepreneurial ambition through Spark Innovation Sphere, a dedicated space on both our Crans-Montana and Marbella campuses where students can collaborate with real-world businesses and incubate their own startup ideas.

Seeing the world from different perspectives

A world-class hospitality education emulates the world itself. From multicultural campuses and international internships surrounded by diverse colleagues, to group work that enables students to see the world from a different view, diversity is the everyday for students at the leading schools. This exposure develops people skills that are key to excellent leadership.

More than this though, it enables the evolution of an individual’s unique personality, empowering them to be authentic with those people skills. That’s the difference between management and leadership.

Learning by doing, immersion in multicultural environments, a drive to innovate and the acquisition of fundamental business expertise. This is why a hospitality education is a leadership education. On graduation, students are transformed. Entering employment or entrepreneurial ventures with the confidence, experience and ability to lead people and be true agents of change in any industry.

Also read: Careers after class 12: Hospitality Management & Catering

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