World renowned Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) has opened its first Asia-Pacific branch campus in Singapore, allowing students to experience Asian culture and big-city life while receiving EHL’s well known Swiss hospitality education. This highlights the significance of hospitality management and its increasing importance in this part of the world, where students now can get a Bachelor degree from a leading hospitality university which will develop essential job skills for the future.
We speak to two current students studying at EHL Campus (Singapore) to find out more about why they’ve decided to study hospitality and what it means to them to do so in Asia.
Q: Hi there! Could you please give us a quick introduction of yourselves?
HH: My name is Harry Huynh, and I’m a Vietnamese student in my third year at EHL Campus (Singapore).
WK: My name is Wilson Koh, I was born and raised in Singapore. I am currently a third-year student and Gold Student Ambassador at EHL Campus (Singapore). I previously obtained a diploma in Hotel and Hospitality Management from Republic Polytechnic and the experience allowed me to pursue the direct entry program at EHL.
As a student ambassador, I represent EHL in different ways such as: participating in events or selection days, taking guests on campus tours, sharing my stories through our digital channels, and speaking to media. The next big event I’ll be participating in is our Open House on 26-27th November (details below), and it’s an immersive experience that I’m really excited about!
Singaporean student, Wilson Koh, who is a third-year student and Gold Ambassador at EHL Campus (Singapore)
Q: Why did you choose to study hospitality?
HH: One of my earliest childhood memories of a family holiday happened in Nha Trang. It is one of our most beautiful coastal cities located in the South of Vietnam. It is one of Vietnam’s proudest jewels, and incidentally, it is also my mother’s hometown.
It was the first time I experienced a 4-star hotel in my life, and it immediately blew me away. We stayed in a beautiful, spacious room, had the most breathtaking view of the sea, and slept on a bed so soft that young me thought it was a marshmallow. Yet, it didn’t even stop there – we had people bringing us food to our room!
Even in my young, inexperienced mind at the time, I realised that the staff who worked tirelessly during our holiday were the ones who directly brought us happiness. The smiles on our faces, and the laughs we shared, were a direct result of their effort and attention to detail. I was hooked immediately, for I too aspire to be the person who can bring happiness to families!
WK: It all started because my parents were in the tourism industry. I used to follow my parents to work when I was young and interacted with many tourists who visited Singapore. I always heard them speak about their experiences with hospitality while they were travelling, and I was always intrigued by their stories.
To answer my curiosities about the hospitality industry, I took up a part-time barback role at a sports bar in Orchard Road. Initially, I was disappointed that the realities of a job like this were not shared with me when I was young; all I did was wash cups and cut fruits. However, when I switched to a waiter role, that was when I told myself that hospitality was the way to go. The experiences I shared with guests are indescribable. The feeling and sense of achievement when you satisfy your guests – I can never get enough of that. That is why I chose to further my studies in hospitality management to evolve and rise.
Vietnamese student, Harry Huyunh, a third-year student at EHL Campus (Singapore)
Q: Why did you choose to pursue hospitality studies in Asia?
HH: Personally, after spending most of my life (thus far!) in Vietnam, I realised that the Vietnamese culture and Asian culture are already so deeply ingrained into me – it has shaped the person I am today. My parents granted me the opportunity to be in an international high school, so it is fortunate that I developed a global outlook from a young age. However, I will always remember these words my dad taught me – “Vietnamese blood runs in your veins. No matter what will become of you in the international stage, never forget the lessons passed down to us from the previous generations.”
Fortunately for me, the wind of the hospitality world seems to be blowing my way. As borders started to open again after the pandemic, tremendous growth can be witnessed in the hospitality industry, especially in Asia. Hotels, restaurants, air travel and more seem to have come back alive with a stronger vengeance than ever before. Asian countries witnessed an increment in investments in recent years, in addition to the constantly evolving industry trends due to the immense demand from countries such as Japan, China and India. Despite studying in Asia, I am equipped with a global outlook thanks to the immersion of diverse cultures from my professors and colleagues. Hence, I can commit to the ever-evolving hospitality industry.
WK: I want to stay in the Asian market as it is the one that I am most exposed to and the one that I see lots of growth opportunities in. I’d continue building my knowledge and expanding my network in Asia.
On top of that, when I was doing research for my higher education opportunities, the world’s number one hospitality management school EHL announced that they were opening a campus right here in Singapore. That was the cherry on top, and I knew EHL in Singapore was the one.
Q: Which aspects of hospitality are you interested in or going to pursue?
HH: I would love to explore the world of luxury retail, especially relating to the automobile industry. I believe that cars are their own form of art where artistic creations, combined with precision engineering to resist the laws of physics could generate extraordinary emotions. Luxury sports car customers can be extremely passionate, and I want to be engulfed in that burning sensation as well.
In the long run, if I am capable enough (never say never!), I want to create a direct impact on the industry. Hence, I want to explore business development and feasibility studies, to further capture on the potential of a location and to ensure a business can be environmentally and financially sustainable.
WK: When I was studying for my diploma, I was interested in pursuing operational roles. However, my studies at EHL have expanded my horizons and exposed me to the many other aspects of the hospitality industry. One of these roles that I envision myself in is revenue management.
I am still deciding between going for the corporate office route or operational route as originally intended. Thanks to EHL, I have a six-month administrative internship starting in January next year, and I believe it will give me a better idea of which route to take after graduation.
Q: Do you think hospitality in Singapore/Asia and Switzerland are different? What are the differences?
HH: Of course! There is a common comparison between the two countries like “Singapore is the Switzerland of Asia”, however, having lived in both countries before, I cannot say I fully agree with such a statement. There are certain similarities, such as how both are financial centres of their respective continents, however, when it comes to hospitality, it goes without saying that there are various key differences. Despite the numerous international hotel brands in both countries, no one can deny that the culture and the people will have a certain degree of influence on their hospitality. For example, in my opinion, Switzerland focuses on professionalism and precision while Singapore focuses on efficiency and anticipating one’s needs.
Q: After completing your studies at EHL, what do you aspire to be? Do you have a specific dream you’d like to fulfil?
HH: I have briefly mentioned that my dream would be to contribute to the hospitality industry back home in Vietnam. I will return home and share our charms to the world. Like the alluring Phuket or the paradise that is Bali, we have so much to offer. I want to ensure that citizens of the world can experience the warmth of Vietnamese hospitality, which is ingrained in our culture and among our people.
Furthermore, Vietnam has witnessed considerable growth in the hospitality industry, especially in the last decade. There are multiple key rising markets such as Da Nang, Phu Quoc and Ho Tram which are steadily becoming attractive destinations for travellers. The number of hotels and resorts, both local and international brands, have tripled in the 2010-present day period. As recent as April this year, marks the introduction of the Regent brand in Vietnam, with the grand opening of the Regent Hotel Phu Quoc. Witnessing the rate at which our industry is growing fills me with pride and joy. It inspires me to do my part, using my knowledge from EHL and my work experience and contribute. Ultimately, I aspire to be a key player of the hospitality industry in Vietnam.
WK: Since I started working as a waiter at a fine dining restaurant, I have always wanted to work in the ultra-luxury segment of the hospitality industry. I have had the opportunity to gain more experience and exposure during an internship at an ultra-luxury hotel in the Maldives, and now I aspire to be a General Manager for an ultra-luxury property.
In my course of study thus far, EHL has gone beyond teaching the key fundamentals of the hospitality trade. We learn more advanced hospitality management theories and build strategic mindsets, which I believe will really help me gain the knowledge needed to achieve my dream.
Q: Are you interested in continuing the hospitality line of work in Asia in future?
HH: I would like to further immerse myself in the industry through operational and administrative experience, which EHL provides through the mandatory internship programs. As someone who has always been an admirer of Japanese culture, working in Tokyo would be a dream come true. Not only will I be able to obtain experience from the land most known for their hospitality, but it is also the perfect opportunity to absorb their culture and learn from the people. I am eager to embrace the learning experience to have an in-depth understanding of what makes the Japanese hospitality spirit so uniquely special.
WK: Yes, with my knowledge of the industry in Asia and seeing how there is still so much growth potential in Asia, I aim to build my career in Asia for now.
EHL Open House
We thank both Wilson and Harry for their time and insights into life on EHL Campus Singapore as well as what it means to pursue a degree in hospitality. If you’re interested to know more about EHL and their Degree on Hospitality Management, do drop by their Open House which will take place this 26 to 27 November 2022.
The EHL Open House will be an experiential and immersive exhibition for attendees. Following the futuristic, forward-looking theme of “Imagining one’s future with EHL”, the different spaces on campus will be transformed into immersive exhibits:
|The Path to Success||EHL’s History in a maze-style exhibit|
|Welcome to Switzerland||Experiencing Switzerland through photos, landscaping props, Swiss “scents” and discovering the natural beauty of the country|
|A Global Career||Stories of alumni from around the world told through mixed media, to highlight the global career opportunities available for students and graduates|
|Consultation Rooms||Personal consultation sessions with EHL’s recruitment and admissions team|
On each day, there will also be 2 faculty-taught Taster Classes to immerse attendees into EHL’s world-class education style on the following topics:
- Undergraduate: Dynamic & Surge Pricing
- Lifelong Learning: Corporate Governance
- Undergraduate: Circular Economy in the Hospitality Industry
- Lifelong Learning: Complex Problem Solving for Busy Teams
EHL Campus (Singapore) is located at 3 Lady Hill Rd, Singapore 258672. For more information, please visit their website https://singapore.ehl.edu.
Images: EHL Campus (Singapore)