Reimagining Hospitality Education
Hotelier Dilip Puri recently launched the Indian School of Hospitality at a glittering event
Applause resounded through the ballroom of The Westin Gurgaon as Dilip Puri, veteran hotelier and former MD and regional VP of Starwood Hotels and Resorts South Asia, took a bow and made his way off the stage.
Puri finally lifted the veil off his long anticipated entrepreneurial venture, the Indian School of Hospitality (ISH). A glittering group of the industry’s thought leaders were in attendance to witness the launch – many of them founder-investors, and members of the board and advisory council of ISH. Together, they had all come to show their support for Puri’s vision of reimagining hospitality education within India.
During his presentation, Puri revealed that the idea for ISH came to him when he admitted his younger son to Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), the world’s oldest and top ranked hospitality management higher education institution. Witnessing firsthand the quality of education and infrastructure in place there, he saw the opportunity to bring these global standards to India. Through the creation and implementation of a future-conscious curriculum, ISH aims to adapt a new form of pedagogy that will transform the way hospitality education is both perceived and delivered.
The prime basis of the ISH philosophy is the seamless integration of academic and life skills being delivered to students, helping them succeed and grow as the leaders of tomorrow – giving them the tools they need to successfully shape one of the most rapidly evolving industries across the globe. The education structure is aimed at providing the ideal foundation for hospitality skills, managerial and leadership development, strategic thinking, as well as an entrepreneurial outlook – providing a strong foundation for lifelong learning and further skill honing throughout graduates’ careers.
To help ensure a truly international standard of hospitality education, ISH has entered into a strategic partnership with Lausanne Hospitality Consulting (LHC), the Swiss knowledge development and management advisory company of EHL. ISH has partnered with LHC in preparation for an academic certification by EHL, alongside curriculum development and faculty training. Through this partnership, ISH is developing a four-year hospitality management programme and a four-year culinary arts programme, with several long and short-term programmes in both culinary and executive education to be available in the future.
With so much on offer for prospective students, Puri emphasised the benefits ISH will bring to the table for the industry, too. “The opportunity to set up ISH has given me the chance to pursue my passion for transferring knowledge, but it is also offering me an opportunity to finally give back to an industry that has given me so much over the span of my career. Providing a talent pool to fuel the growth of the industry is critical to the long-term sustainability of the tourism and hospitality industry. Our unique graduate profiles will allow students to opt for a career in multiple sectors, including but not limited to hotels and resorts, luxury and retail, banking and finance, entrepreneurship and more. There is a whole wide world open for you after an education in hospitality”, Puri commented.
Supporting ISH can become a vital strategic opportunity for the industry. By providing value-adding internships, combined with the academic learning at ISH, graduates can enter into jobs in the industry that otherwise could take an additional two years of management training, saving companies valuable time and resources.
Additionally, it is important to recognise the rapid rise of culinary arts and ‘foodie culture’. With their four-year culinary arts programme, ISH will provide students with a progressive combination of culinary expertise, with an entrepreneurial mindset to match- giving graduates the freedom to either enter the industry at sous chef level or pursue their own venture straight after graduation.
SOLID SHOW OF SUPPORT
ISH’s launch was studded with industry figureheads from both India and across the world. Industry leaders joining Puri on stage to share their vision for ISH included Patu Keswani, CMD of Lemon Tree Hotels Limited and founder investor of ISH, Ashish Jakhanwala, MD & CEO of SAMHI Hotels and a member of ISH’s board of directors, and Ingo Schweder, founder & CEO of GOCO Hospitality and a member of the advisory council.
A surprise of the night was a video call with Frits van Paasschen, former CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, author of the book ‘The Disruptors’ Feast’, and spearhead figure of ISH’s Advisory Council. Live from Dubai, he expressed his excitement for ISH’s mission, emphasising the game-changing contributions it would bring to the educational sphere as well as the entire hospitality landscape, before signing off with a teaser that he would “see everyone soon”.
To sum up the event and ISH’s next steps, Puri commented, “I am humbled by the show of support from colleagues, industry figureheads and mentors alike. This is a very exciting time for ISH and our team, and we look forward to embarking on this exciting new chapter of hospitality education.”