Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality shares his opinion on creating the leaders of tomorrow
Those who choose to pursue a future in hospitality have to be open-minded, welcoming and armed with a strong repertoire of skills
Hospitality is a multifaceted industry and requires professionals who are just as multitalented. Those who wish to succeed in the hospitality industry need to be flexible, determined, and ready for a challenge. The world has people coming from different cultures and backgrounds, who have different expectations and different attitudes. Those who choose to pursue a future in hospitality have to be open-minded, welcoming and armed with a strong repertoire of skills. Just like there’s no manual to life, there’s no manual that covers every customer service interaction. And that’s why the industry needs talent that thinks on its feet and possesses life skills for every scenario.
So what goes into the making of an exceptional talent?
Let’s first consider the definition of a ‘good’ hospitality professional. He or she has the potential to rise through the ranks, is an inspiring team player, an empathetic leader, has a strong grasp of business fundamentals and hotel operations, is a passionate people person, and isn’t afraid to think outside the box.
Such professionals are the result of a well-balanced curriculum. At the heart of good hospitality education, you’ve got a programme that is designed to offer students a foundation in business knowledge, with modules in human resource, accounting, marketing, economics and revenue management. Besides, they need soft skills, communication skills, and leadership and customer service skills. Add to that a knowledge of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking and planning, and you’ve got an education that can be tweaked and adapted to almost any of today’s most popular industries.
Because of this three-pronged approach to education, hospitality grads are some of the most flexible professionals entering the market and have the potential to excel through various positions. They are armed with the toolkit to know how to deliver and measure consumer happiness, set new targets, and pick apart the business to know where to improve and adapt.
The next step is to foster exceptional professionals who can deliver exciting, engaging and effective internships. The internship experience can make or break a graduate’s passion and ambition — and with an industry that is in such dire need of good talent, we don’t have room for error anymore. According to a paper by Ko (2008) as part of a wider study into student satisfaction within internships, high levels of training satisfaction have increased their confidence in their future career prospects.
Happy interns result in optimistic, happy graduates ready to pursue their ambitions in the industry. Furthermore, a structured internship ensures that students gain a realistic glimpse into working life within the
hospitality industry. Most importantly, learning and professional development don’t have to stop for professionals already working in the industry. Such executive education programmes are crucial for professionals to learn how to adapt to new technology, consumer behaviour, business practices, and holistically evolve as hospitality professionals.
Our industry doesn’t stop evolving — which means professionals, who wish to be considered ‘good’, need to keep up with the pace.