The Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality (SSTH) in Passugg has introduced the Top-up Bachelor (according to the curriculum of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne), a further milestone in the dual-study programme. An interview with David Puser, the in-charge of international marketing and partnerships and responsible for the global positioning of the SSTH as a top ranking school of hotel management.

David Puser, you are travelling all over the world and representing the SSTH to promote the School of Hotel Management in Passugg as a top institution for international students: What are your concrete goals?

I am responsible for the international marketing of the SSTH, so my primary aim is to present our attractive training programme to the highly motivated young adults. We offer a dual education programme that combines practical experience and academic studies and is recognised by the Swiss federal authorities. It is unique in the educational sector catering to the hotel industry. The courses at this Higher Professional School, the Höhere Fachschule (HF) are in German and English. We have introduced also a new Bachelor's in "International Hospitality Management". It is oriented on the curriculum of the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL), the No. 1 institution in the world, and affiliated to the Bologna System.

We would like to demonstrate that not only the degree is important for a successful career but, first of all, the road leading to it. Many institutions have sprung up in the meanwhile which are rather "Bachelor factories". This has led to a degradation of the meaning and significance of the degree. Therefore, the reputation and the accreditation of the institution offering the degree have become all the more important. Since the SSTH is a part of the EHL group, our degrees promise very good prospects for a successful career.

Does it require a lot of convincing on your part?

Those who want to study at the SSTH must have a sense of hospitality and a passion for the hotel industry and gastronomy. If one is attracted to this vocation, one is bent on learning all its aspects. The students at the SSTH are managing different in-house restaurants to simulate a realistic business situation. The trainees also draft business plans and carry out research work in collaboration with establishments in practice. Our dual education programme is convincing by itself. Moreover, we are the only institution that offers programmes in English accredited by the Swiss federal authorities.
The SSTH, as a school of hotel management, can look back on a history of more than 50 years. It has not only extensive experience in the field but also a tradition and reputation in the industry. The former spa-hotel in Passugg, where the school is accommodated, provides an unique learning environment in Graubünden, the No. 1 tourist destination in Switzerland.

The new programmes of the SSTH in English enable international students to graduate with an degree in hotel management accredited by the Swiss federal authorities, however, the status of the graduation is still not clear. A degree from a Higher Professional School is not so common in the international education system. How do you address this issue?

The accreditation of our HF diploma as tertiary education has been recently confirmed by the federal authorities and it can be shown internationally as official diploma title in English from 2016 onwards. As the only business school offering an accredited English HF programme since 2013, we can already confer the title "Swiss Professional Degree", which refers to the profession and the tertiary degree. But, we also offer direct admission in the last three semesters of the Bachelor's course of the EHL to those aspiring an academic degree. Our motto is: "One qualification leads to the next".

The HF programme in English is available also to Swiss students. What is the response here?

We are very much satisfied with the response of the Swiss students to our English programme. Swiss students hardly get the opportunity at other schools to live and study along with international students. They can benefit from the international atmosphere and develop a better understanding of other cultures. The Cantons give financial support to Swiss students for the English programme only partially, but the training is cheaper than in an English-speaking country.

Which career prospects do the Swiss students taking up the English programme have? What do you expect?

Today, the proficiency in English at a high level is necessary for a successful career in the hotel industry. The career opportunities open to the Swiss SSTH-graduates in Switzerland as well as internationally would not have been possible without such a curriculum. The hotel industry and the gastronomy sector offer various career options. The professional approach and the understanding of the customers' needs – an integral and substantial part of the training at the SSTH – determine ultimately the further development. The students themselves carve their professional path.

School for Hotel Management in English

The SSTH Swiss School of Tourism and Hospitality is the only training institute for hotel management in Switzerland that offers an education programme at the Higher Professional Degree level (Höhere Fachschule / HF) exclusively in English. And it is accredited by the Swiss federal authorities. Furthermore, the students have the option of gaining an internationally recognised degree with the Top-up Bachelor's course.

The SSTH offers training at different professional and management levels in the hotel industry and gastronomy: Beginning from the basic level up to the academic degree of Bachelor, which opens up totally new career perspectives. The students at the SSTH can proceed to a short-term Bachelor's course after their diploma. Around 300 students from 30 countries study at the campus in Passugg near Chur.

More information on the English programme at: www.ssth.ch/en

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