Undoubtedly, there is no other industry in the world quite like hospitality for opening up so many bright possibilities. And at ICHM our focus is to make sure our students are positioned to make the most of them, through providing a learning environment that reflects an industry for which change is as unrelenting as it is fast paced.
We were recently given two reminders of the ever - changing nature of hospitality.
The first was in a presentation by Dr Peter O’Connor, Chaired Professor and Director of the MBA in Hospitality Management - Essec Business School, France, in which he set out the battle being played out between hotels and online travel agents in the bid to attract hotel bookings (see article).
The second was at our Graduation Ceremony, when Dr Ueli Schneider, Head of Education at hotelleriesuisse, made mention in his graduation address (see article) of the six trends identified by the Swiss Hotel Association as dominating the industry.
One of the trends made reference to artificial intelligence (AI), and given the number of AI - powered robots being deployed for certain positions in more properties worldwide, a shared functionality between people and robots is now a certainty.
Our role in all this is to provide young people with the skills sets to understand and consequently make the best use of the new technologies, from when a guest books into a hotel through to the experiences they have when they get there.
But just as important is our investment in human interaction so that personalities that have the capacity to add that certain richness to the guest experience can flourish.
We do this through campus life itself, where students interact formally and informally with others from as many as 20 or 30 different cultures.
We do it through industry placements, where students work with like-minded professionals and absorb culture of a different kind, that of a hotel.
And we also do it through formal academic learning, with subjects that are continually updated to reflect the latest trends in industry. We are supported in this with our Graduates in Industry International Advisory Committee.
We are encouraged by the findings in our most recent graduate survey, which shows an employment rate of 95–98%, with only two students who finished in June ‘looking for work’ in September 2018. Of those who got a job, 71% got theirs within a month, and 23% within one to three months. Fifty per cent won a job from their last industry placement, the Industry and Career Development team or the ICHM network.
On a completely different note, we are proud to report that ICHM now has three graduate General Managers in Adelaide: Bodelle Francis at Ibis Adelaide, Justin McConnell at Next Hotels & Resorts and Tim Newson at the new Atura Adelaide Airport and they are profiled in this On Course.
All three say that ICHM set an environment that valued broad thinking. ‘It gave me a shot in the arm for thinking outside the box’, says Justin McConnell.
The future presents us with enormous challenges, and we know our graduates are better equipped than most to meet the challenges of the future. And that future is now!