STRATEGIC HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT
The first series of students has successfully completed the Strategic Hospitality Management postgraduate course.
The program is based on a partnership between the Bucharest University of Economic Studies (ASE) and Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), the most prestigious school in the world in the field of hospitality management. On February 16, 2017, the Rector of ASE, prof. Nicolae Istudor, Ph.D. and Prof. Michel Rochat, CEO of EHL, signed at Lausanne, the Partnership Agreement between ASE and EHL. At the ceremony there was also present prof. Marius Profiroiu Ph.D., Vice-Rector of International Relations of ASE, along with other personalities from EHL management.
The partnership is a form of academic and scientific cooperation, materialized in the joint organization and development in Romania, by ASE and EHL, through its Lausanne Hospitality Consulting (LHC) component, of a postgraduate program Strategic Hospitality Management. The program has a total duration of 1 year, with a total of 198 hours of teaching activities in the field of hospitality management, provided by specialists from Ecole de Lausanne and ASE. After graduation, interested students can follow a 5-day optional module held at Ecole de Lausanne. The graduates of the postgraduate program will be awarded a Certificate of Professional Competence, recognized by the Ministry of National Education in Romania and a Certificate of Executive Education issued by Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne.
Between September 2017 and February 2018 there have been organized the teaching activities of the Strategic Hospitality Management Postgraduate program, divided in 7 modules. 19 students from different sectors of the hospitality industry – hotels, restaurants, distribution in the Horeca area, travel agencies, event organizers and other domains, participated in these activities.
The teaching activities started on September 7, with the first module, the course being held after the following program (between 15:00 and 21:00, and Saturdays between 8:00 and 14:00):
- 1st Module – 7-9 September 2017
- 2nd Module – 21-23 September 2017
- 3rd Module – 16-19 October 2107
- 4th Module – 23 September – 7 November 2017
- 5th Module – 4-15 December 2017
- 6th Module – 11-20 January 2018
- 7th Module – 22-27 January 2018
- Defending final project (skills certification exam) – February 9, 2018.
On September 7th 2017, prof. Ray Iunius, from Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, joined prof. Gabriela Tigu to open the courses of the program. The opening was attended by prof. Dalina Dumitrescu, Vice-Rector of Scientific Research, Development and Innovation, members of teaching staff, members of the business environment and an excellent group of students, eager to experience and learn new things and to develop new business relationships.
The first module, organized between September 7-9, offered an Introduction to the Hospitality Industry, by presenting the main international trends. Moreover, the students met the two organizing entities in the light of the extensive presentations of the two professors. Furthermore, there were established the organizational and content-related details of the final consultancy project that students will need to complete for the graduation of the program.
The second module was held between September 21-23 and September 28-30, including topics related to Corporate Finance and Real Estate Finance Valuation, as well as Financial and Managerial Accounting, with EHL teachers (Prashant Das) and ASE teachers (Adriana Duțescu, Laura Brașoveanu). The module was a very practical one, appreciated by the students based on the usefulness of the information provided and the study cases.
On October 16-19, the third module – People Management – provided students with debates, practical applications, exercises and case studies from the field of Organizational Behaviour and Leadership, Human resource management and Business communication, applied in the hospitality industry. Professors from ASE – Remus Hornoiu, Claudia Țuclea and Andreea Schiopu – have been joined by practitioners, invited to contribute with their expertise to provide a good education experience for the students.
The module ended with a day dedicated to evaluating the work on the consultancy projects – an activity developed by students between face-to-face activities held on each module. The coordination of the 6 team projects, with real topics requested by companies from the hospitality industry, was conducted by Gabriela Țigu and Ray Iunius, having the support of other professionals from the business environment.
The postgraduate course Strategic Hospitality Management continued in November with the fourth module: Hospitality Operations.
The first days of the course were dedicated to restaurant themes: Value Creation in Food Service Industry and Food & Beverage – Preparation & Service. Under the coordination and in the presence of professor Alain Najar, from Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, the students debated operational issues and decisions, tested new operational management methods, solved study cases and, in particular, had the opportunity to test their creativity, business experience and knowledge by participating in a small ”contest” of setting up a restaurant with a specific theme, imposed by the teacher. The presentation of the mini-projects, as well as the previous teaching activities, gave rise to some interesting discussions for the participants. The jury that evaluated the project proposals was formed, along with prof. Najar, with colleagues from the Department of Tourism and Geography (ASE) as well as a representative of the business environment, a specialist in the field.
The module continued with Front Office Management, topic coordinated by the lecturer Mihai Tănase, Ph.D., Department of Tourism and Geography, ASE, continuing the debates on this topic, started by professor Christine Tavares, EHL. Besides the specific classroom debates and exercises, the topic was basically supported by a professional visit to the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bucharest, partner of ASE, providing students with the opportunity to exchange experiences or to test the theoretical knowledge taught in the classroom on Front Office. The visit to the hotel was coordinated by the hotel’s management team and guided by the hotel’s Front Office Manager.
The last topic of the module covered another interesting subject, of real-benefit for the students: Wine Knowledge & Beverage Management. Having the chance to have as professor Mr. Dan Boboc, Dean of the Faculty of Agrifood and Environmental Economics, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, as well as President of the Romanian Authorised Tasting Association and a professional in METRO Cash&Carry România, an acknowledged specialist in the field, the students had the opportunity to develop their skills in the field of the manufacturing process, the wine market in Romania and the rest of Europe, the sensory analysis techniques and product quality verification. The teaching and practical activities associated with this topic were held in a specific, very professional, but welcoming environment, the Gastronomy Training Center of METRO Cash&Carry Romania, partner of ASE Bucharest.
The fifth module of the postgraduate program – Strategic Operations – was held in December 2017. The module included topics related to the management of specific operations in the hospitality industry, focusing on modern managerial tools. There have been debated topics such as forecasting, operational capacity management, quality management, business models, but also implementation of new information technologies in this sector. In addition to the three professors – Gabriela Țigu, Ray Iunius and Pierre Verbeke -, specialists from the business environment and the hospitality industry have attended the courses (Răzvan Pirjol, President of Bucharest Tourism Board, Călin Ile, President of Romanian Hotel Industry Federation, Mihai Hobeanu, specialist in quality systems).
Within the timeframe between these last modules, the students continued their work on their project, under the guidance of the coordinating teachers Ray Iunius, EHL, and Gabriela Țigu, ASE Bucharest. At the end of the fifth module, intermediary project presentations were held, with the participation of the Project Management specialists from TrendHospitality, Tinu Sebeșanu and Cris Micuț.
In January 2018, the last two modules of the course offered students new knowledge and experiences. The sixth module – Marketing and Sales – has included extremely up-to-date and useful topics for the hospitality industry – online marketing, sales strategies on new channels in the context of the new information technologies, revenue management. Thus, students benefited from the experience of professors Meng-Mei Maggie Chen and Horațiu Tudori, from Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne.
The last module was dedicated to the topic Strategy and Entrepreneurship, with reference to strategic management tools in the hospitality industry, to specific aspects of evolution and specific Romanian business models, to methods of stimulating innovation. To professors from EHL and ASE – Ray Iunius, Gabriela Țigu, Mihai Tănase and Ana Maria Nica – joined specialists from the business environment from Romania: Gabriel Iovu – manager Expressoft, Ionuț Nache – manager INAQ Consulting and representative of European Spas Association ESPA in Romania, Ioana Marian – president of DespreSpa Romania, Ionuț Frangulea – trainer & consultant bartending and brand ambasador Monin in Romania, Cristian Gheorghe – general manager Nexus Consulting International.
For the second time, in this last module, the program benefited from hosting a day of teaching and practical activities at the Gastronomy Training Center of METRO Cash&Carry Romania.
The program ended on February 9 2018, with the competency certification exam, consisting of defending the final business project, by teams, attended by representatives from the management of the companies that requested consultancy for the respective projects.
Between February 13-17, the group of students, along with the course director, Mrs. Gabriela Țigu, went to Lausanne, at EHL headquarters, for a professional visit coordinated by Mr. Prof. Ray Iunius. During the visit, participants attended workshops at EHL, visits in important companies partners with the school (luxury hotel chains, other tourist services providers, universities), as well as to the Romanian Embassy in Berne.
In the upcoming weeks, a promotional campaign will be held to attract a new series of students, campaign that will run until the end of June 2018 (press, social media, articles in specialized publications, promotion within conferences in the hospitality industry, public relations, mailing etc.).
In the week dedicated to the 105th anniversary of the Bucharest University of Economic Studies, on April 20, 2018, a festive event will we organized in Aula Magna for awarding the graduation certificates for the current series of students and for the promotion of the course in order to start a new selection process for the next series of students. Applications for the next series will start on April 23, 2018 (and last until the end of June), followed by the selection process, so that in the second half of September 2018 the postgraduate courses can begin again (expected to be completed in March-April 2019, as the specific timetable on modules will be finalized after consulting and agreeing with the partner, Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne).
Prof. Gabriela Țigu, Ph.D.