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“Investment in hospitality education, research and learning & development is the need of the hour” : Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, ISH

Friday, February 26, 2021, 17:00 Hrs  [IST]
Asmita Mukherjee | Hyderabad

Hospitality management degree programmes are focused on developing soft skills rather than hard skills. A strong combination of good business acumen, and understanding of consumer behaviour are a must for hospitality students to better understand the guests of today. Asmita Mukherjee spoke with Dilip Puri, Founder & CEO, Indian School of Hospitality to understand the necessity of education for hospitality professionals to enhance their knowledge before they enter into the real world.

Is the curriculum undergoing any changes to better prepare students for unforeseen circumstances in the industry such as the recent pandemic?

The speed with which the world is evolving, it is essential that education mirrors the same pace too. At ISH, we believe that investment in hospitality education, research and learning & development is the need of the hour and needs greater attention, which is what we are working towards every day. We monitor the industry very closely to predict changes and accordingly, our curriculum evolves. Not only are we making our pedagogy more immersive in terms of educating students about business acumen, entrepreneurial thinking, and consumer behaviour, but we are also investing in digital learning to enhance their academic experience.

How has the pandemic affected ISH?

The pandemic has given ISH the opportunity to reflect, research and invest in making education more accessible, more digital and more future-ready. While there is a lot of swift technical change that has come about, the prime focus at ISH will be to strengthen existing capabilities and to ensure our students are equipped with such skills that they are able to move swiftly from industry to industry. For this, we are working closely with the industry to curate better internships so that the student experience is complete and they are prepared for a wide variety of fields out there.

What are the new specialised programmes that you are planning to introduce in the near future?

We presently offer an undergraduate degree in Hospitality management and in Culinary Arts. We also offer a one year Intensive Culinary Arts certificate program and an 18-month culinary arts diploma in association with At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy, Singapore. In 2020, we launched our first postgraduate program in Service Operations designed for graduates and people with work experience looking for career changes within the broader services industry beyond just hotels. We will now launch customised PG programs for different sectors as well as a blended and fully online program. In 2022, we will launch our first MBA program. Besides these, we will start offering a range of short term culinary programs with various specialisations. These will be offered as full time and part time programs as well as weekend programs.

What advice would you give to the hospitality professionals of tomorrow?

The world of hospitality has grown beyond hotels and resorts or culinary and F&B. Every service sector business looks for talent with a strong understanding of hospitality and the transferrable skills which hospitality graduates bring. Many technology backed businesses in e-commerce, food delivery etc. are all spawned from core hospitality businesses. I often tell students that we are educating and preparing them for jobs, careers and businesses that do not even exist today. Hospitality professionals should be less insular and more ready to move laterally across other sectors and the industry must also encourage more hiring from outside of hospitality to bring fresher perspectives to the business.

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