After decades of working in the mainstream hotel industry, in 2018 Dilip Puri quit his high-profile position as the managing director — India and regional vice president of Starwood Hotels & Resorts after the group’s global merger with Marriott International. Instead of joining another group, he chose an offbeat path to become part of academia and set up the Indian School of Hospitality (ISH). In some ways, Puri will be considered a pioneer. What the Indian hospitality sector lacks is access to well-trained manpower at all levels. Speaking about the motivation to set up ISH, he has been quoted to have said, “The hospitality industry environment is changing at an incredible pace and if the talent is to be future-ready, curriculums need to have the newest trends and patterns incorporated into them. The skill sets of hospitality and tourism graduates fail to match up to industry expectations, creating additional complications and failing to bridge the gap between supply and demand.”
ISH’s mission is to adopt a unique approach to higher education that balances the current needs of the global hospitality industry with those of today's millennial students. The faculty comprises of several hospitality industry experts and culinary veterans; the curriculum is tailor-made to prepare students to anticipate disruption within the global landscape and even to train them as potential disruptors. There can be no one better than Puri to launch this significant venture, given his long innings in the industry and his several successes, including at his last position as the head of Starwoods. One of the world’s leading hospitality school, Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), recognised the effort and tied-up with ISH. They will work with the latter’s faculty to provide Swiss learning methodologies and certify student diplomas.
The tie-up has proven to be quite a success story for ISH this early in its lifespan. ISH, Puri hopes, will transform hospitality education in the country through a unique approach to its pedagogy and education philosophy. He has said, “The competitive edge and battle for market share in the future will be fought as much over customers as over talent. It is a vibrant, exciting and ever-changing world and we endeavour to prepare professionals to be future proof, and foster a spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation through a uniquely designed academic curriculum.”