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Rapid integration into working life

Dual education in theory and practice is what makes the difference

Graduates of the Professional Path are sought-after hospitality specialists. Not only do they graduate with two federally recognized degrees, they also graduate with at least two years professional work experience at the end of their studies. "Learning by doing" is not just an empty phrase at EHL Passugg; it is at the heart of the curriculum. Having the chance to implement theoretical knowledge or concepts from the classroom directly into practice ensures that students understand how it works, and will not forget what they learn. This practical experience is worth its weight in gold to the future employer.

The dual training system is deeply rooted in Switzerland. Basic vocational training usually begins with an apprenticeship at a vocational school. If a young talent decides to continue their professional education, they often continue with a Professional Degree. The Swiss Professional Degree offered at EHL Passugg is an example of this type of combined theoretical and practical education for the hotel, gastronomy and hospitality industry.

EHL Passugg does not just want to educate their students in theory and practice, but wants to train students to become strong, self-confident professionals. Our Affective Hospitality Vision is reflected in the primary competencies of being a good host, working together as a team, and taking responsibility for oneself. Here, soft skills training for students is central. In contrast to other hotel management schools, EHL Passugg not only teaches soft skills such as communication and intercultural competencies, but also strengthens the students’ abilities for self-reflection. The best way to develop these skills is to apply them. This is achieved through the creation of a curriculum that includes a balance of theory, practical lessons and project work.

Personal development through teamwork and project management

Practical work is an important part of the Professional Path and is integrated into each semester. Projects encourage students to learn to work effectively and take responsibility both independently and in teams. Students will have the opportunity to implement projects and test their concepts. By working on a variety of projects, students will expand their professional, personal and social skills, which builds their self-confidence. Successes are celebrated, while mistakes are seen as an opportunity for reflection and learning.

Practical skills in four school semesters

The first semester focuses on kitchen and service practice. In the kitchens, students develop professional skills in food preparation and presentation as well as an understanding of safety and hygiene theory and practice. Guest care becomes the focus during service practice. Students develop their skills, from service preparation to fine dining tableside service, by working in each of the five on-site restaurants

In the second semester, students gain a foundation in hotel operations, starting with the practical requirements of housekeeping and the front office. Housekeeping practice introduces students to hotel quality and hygiene standards and how infrastructure is operated and maintained. During front office practice, students gain an insight into the practical activities in the front and back office. Guest relations and effective communication skills are trained at the school hotel reception desk and students apply their acquired technical knowledge of the reservations process and booking systems.

Concept week takes place in the fourth semester, where students collaborate and put their theoretical knowledge into practice. The aim is to successfully develop and execute a concept project.  Each student takes on a task within the group, such as Food and Beverage Management, Finance, or Marketing and they receive a budget to implement their concept. They must use their presentation skills to sell their concept to the Head of Studies to have it approved. In recent years, the students have set up various pop-up restaurants.

In the sixth semester, students can specialize their skills in either Culinary Arts or Spa & Wellness Management. As a final students develop a business plan with an external business partner. The students develop a real business case and find solutions to financing, project and process management, marketing and, in some cases, even legal questions.

Two paid internships in Switzerland or abroad

Before entering the sixth semester, students must have gained at least 24 months of professional experience. Up to one year of prior experience may be credited toward this requirement, or students can gain all this experience through additional internships.

Students complete their first internship in Switzerland in an operational function at a hotel or restaurant of their choice. The second management internship can be completed in Switzerland or abroad but must be in a supervisory function. Having internships integrated into the curriculum ensures the internship placements must meet strict guidelines to give students experience that consolidates their knowledge and skills learned during the school semesters. The Career Service Team at EHL Passugg support students in finding internships that will help them build experience to support their career goals.

Practical experience brings great advantages when starting a career

Industry knowledge and practical experience give students a competitive advantage and make a significant contribution to their professional success. Having work experience gives young professionals a valuable edge when they are looking for their first job after graduation. For this reason, the studies at EHL Passugg concentrate on providing professional skills and management training as well as complete industry integration through operational and management internships. It also allows students to build their professional network in the hospitality industry, which will be very helpful as they begin their careers.

Graduates wishing to continue their education and sharpen their management skills may continue for an additional three semesters to gain the Bachelor in International Hospitality Management.