Writer: John Lohr, Executive Director External Affairs, Dusit Thani College
Source: The Bangkok Insight (www.thebangkokinsight.com)
“Why would you want to spend four years of your life studying to be a receptionist or waiter?”
For anyone who has decided to enter a career in hospitality, this is something they likely heard from their parents. Whether it is USA, India or even Switzerland, the script is always the same.
This might seem like a strange topic to discuss for our inaugural Dusit Thani College column, especially coming from the first and largest hospitality school in Thailand, graduating over 10,000 students in the last 30 years, but I think it is time to set the record straight.
Mom and Dad: A degree in hospitality management does not mean your kids are destined to only be receptionists or waiters. There is a reason “management” is in the title.
The hospitality industry is a people industry and to manage people, you need to know the people: their work, worries and wants. No simulation, online training or course will give you that perspective. That’s why Work Integrated Learning, something that we strongly believe in at Dusit Thani College is part of the learner journey. Learning by doing, but with professional guidance. It’s also the reason that industry internships are part of our programs and yes, those internships will likely be “line level” meaning receptionists, waiter and servers etc..
But, let’s look at a list of soft skills that are learned in these Integrated Learning and Internship environments:
Communication, Writing, Public Speaking, Responsiveness, Empathy, Emotional Intelligence, Listening, Cultural Intelligence, Growth Mindset, Persistence, Results-oriented, Goal-setting, Time Management, Organization, Planning, Delegation, Adaptability, Resourcefulness, Acceptance, Open-mindedness, Curiosity, Willingness to Learn, Innovation, Problem Solving, Transparency, Confidence, Critical Thinking, Integrity, Work Ethic, Self-motivation, Reliability, Attention to detail, Teamwork, Helpfulness, Conflict Resolution, Collaboration, Professionalism, Positivity, Credibility, Manners, Leadership, Mentorship, Initiative and Decision Making
I can assure you that when your kids go for their first job interview and they get asked “what did you study” and they respond with this list, not “Accounting, Finance, Business etc..” they will have a far better chance at getting the job. Seriously, copy the list, bring it to the interview, thank me later.
But what about the job after studies?
Now is the best time to study hospitality because the industry desperately needs managers. And with their degree, experience and skills they will rise to these well-paid responsible positions with lightning speed.
But let’s be honest, maybe they will not work in the industry. That is ok and it is something we even expect as educators. With the soft skills they have learned via their hospitality management studies and experiences, they will be well positioned to take on any management role in any industry. Every company I have ever spoken to has always told me the same thing, “we can teach the hard skills, but we can’t teach the attitude.”
So, Mom and Dad, my message to you is this; don’t let your kids study a degree in hospitality management, unless…you want to prepare them for professional and personal success.