EHL Hospitality Business School, the prize for Swiss excellence

In Switzerland, the prestigious EHL Hospitality Business School, formerly Ecole hotelière de Lausanne, has inaugurated a state-of-the-art campus. It has been training the future leaders of the luxury industry since 1893.

“For you tonight, fried Thurgau prawns, bulgur, hazelnuts and chives.” In the tranquil setting of the Berceau des Sens, the star-applied restaurant of the hotel school in Lausanne, Switzerland, the students’ choreography in the preparatory year is precise. They do everything from dressage to eating – the puff pastry is delicious – to sommelier. In the kitchens, others are supervised by six cooks. “Tonight the aim is to leave you in the most total autonomy”a few hours earlier warned the teacher Lionel Sauvère in English.

“An international showcase of Swiss know-how”Ignazio Cassis, President

The institution born in 1893 in a room of the Hotel d’Angleterre, on the shores of Lake Geneva, has turned into a business school that educates the elite of management, finance, luxury or services. The name change – EHL Hospitality Business School – and the new campus still under construction, inaugurated on July 8, after five years of work and 250 million Swiss francs invested, bear witness to this. Located on the heights of the Olympic city since 1975, the school welcomes 3800 students of 127 nationalities – the French represent 17% of the contingent, behind the Swiss. The campus, sober, everything in length, makes you dream: swimming pool, educational vegetable garden and even… a sushi bar. Best management university for the hospitality and leisure professions in the QS ranking since 2019, the President of the Swiss Confederation Ignazio Cassis welcomed at the inauguration a “international showcase of Swiss know-how”that has become a diplomatic cog.

The expansion of the EHL Hospitality Business School campus in Lausanne cost 250 million Swiss francs.

A hybrid strain between hospitality and management

Bac reform hurts French students

Of the 1800 candidates, 600 will be admitted in September. Selected in the file, the school also examines openness, aptitude and attitude. Math is compulsory at school. This poses a problem for French students. “The reform allows students to come to us without having done math, it’s great”, laments Juan Perellon. It is still necessary to be able to finance the studies. For internationals, the four years will cost about 173,000 euros, excluding accommodation on campus. Because the school is recognized by the federal state, the study costs of the Swiss are approximately 85,000 euros. Currently, between 250 and 300 students have scholarships or honorary loans from the EHL Foundation. The school has a lot to do with social openness, even if the students are not all “sons of”. “We don’t have a quantified target, but we’re working on it because it’s not our strong point yet”, admits Ines Blal. Marie, 18-year-old French student, philosopher: “Studying here is an investment.”

Teachers best workers in France

EHL, which also has a campus in Singapore, relies on practice to shape “the intelligence of the hand”, said Juan Perellon, director of the academic office. He receives in “A classroom”: the huge entrance hall without walls, which looks like a hotel reception. Prior to the three-year Bachelor of Hospitality Management – the flagship program – students have a preparatory year (AP) consisting of modules in which they are trained in hotel knowledge (oenology, baking, etc.) and a six-year internship. month. Then the courses are those of a business school: accounting, management… “Students need to understand what is happening at all levels of scale”, summarizes Aymeric Le Vot, former deputy director of restaurant Alain Ducasse on the Plaza Athénée in Paris, now manager of Berceau des Sens. A prestigious master, like the 185 teachers at the school: the best workers in France, former star chefs and management experts.

“Our anchoring in know-how and hotel management sets us apart. This approach enriches our finance or marketing courses”Inès Blal, Executive Dean of EHL Hospitality Business School

So hotel school? From management? “The turn we are taking is that of a business school. When we focus on the customer experience, our mission is to anticipate the needscatering care»explains Juan Perellon. “Our anchoring in know-how and hotel management enriches our finance or marketing courses”, continues Inès Blal, Executive Dean. Here, 96% of students have a job within a year of graduation. Half are in the hospitality industry and 20% are in luxury or real estate.

“Top Chef” Atmosphere

Odors of celery, vinegar and spices collide. Facing the Alps, in a kitchen with bay windows, Cyrille Lecossois oversees the R&D workshop. Students create a dish with a vegan alternative to tuna, vuna. “It is ideas and creation. I’m the technician”, explains the 50-year-old Vosges. In aprons, Delphine and Léa, 21, make vegan quinoa sushi mixed with fresh cheese and caramelized papayas with vanilla. Sacha, an 18-year-old Parisian, stuffs pasta with onions and fennel. “It is a very prestigious course where you make both cooking and business plans. There is an intellectual and practical aspect”enthuses those who would like to work in the financial world.

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Sacha and Louis are in the preparatory year. Here, in the R&D module, led by Cyrille Lecossois.

In the mixology, Marie, Youssef and Camilla play the sorcerer’s apprentices. Gin, basil… “It’s fun, but it’s anything but improv”, watches over the roar of a shaker Roberto Bertinetti, 43, who heads the workshop. After tasting and evaluating their cocktails – a paradise and a delicious basil smash – the students come up with the day’s drink. Tonight they run the bar next to the Berceau des Sens. “What color? Quite strong?…”attacks the teacher.

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Marie, Youssef and Camilla are in the preparatory year. Here at the mixology module supervised by Roberto Bertinetti.

Strict and gender neutral dress code

On the discipline side “we are judged on everything”“A student slips out. “Your apron is not ironed, you get out.” Being late to the kitchen costs points. “You always have to be on top. That is excellence, adapt and never show there is a problem., explains Clémentine, a smiling 22-year-old from Lyon, a graduate who joined watchmaker Hublot’s marketing department in August. During her internship, she led the inauguration of La Samaritaine, in Paris, as manager of the VIP area in the presence of Emmanuel Macron. For clothing – men in shirts, women in suits, gray suits and blue headscarves for APs – the school established a “genderless dress code” which allows each student to choose the outfit, adapted, in which he feels best.

Le Berceau des Sens is the Michelin-starred educational application restaurant of the EHL Hospitality Business School in Lausanne.
Le Berceau des Sens is the Michelin-starred educational application restaurant of the EHL Hospitality Business School in Lausanne.

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