January 3, 2022

5 questions to ask before choosing a Hospitality Management school

Stephen Hickmore

According to Stephen Hickmore, these are the five questions you should ask before choosing a Hospitality Management School to study a degree or professional chef programme.

1. Is the establishment dependable with an established reputation?

Do not be fooled; not all colleges, business schools and Universities are created equal. You need a trusted name with an international reputation for excellence. A proven history showing student success in the hospitality industry. Who are the lecturers? What experience and qualifications do they have? Does the school have strong links and partnerships in the industry?

2. Does the Hotel School provide you with the skills to be employed after graduation?

Visit the various schools, colleges and universities offering hospitality degrees and compare facilities. What subjects are they teaching at what level? Are you getting a genuine business education? How innovative and up to date is the curriculum. Check out the qualifications of the faculty? Are there PhD’s and experts in their fields? Or are they recently graduated students teaching from a book?

3. Friendly, professional, nurturing campus environment?

What facilities does the campus have? Good Wi-Fi, recreational space, private study areas, practical kitchens for different sections, up to date equipment, public restaurant. Does the school provide meals, books, uniforms, laptops, and other items as part of their inclusive charges? Beware of hidden costs. Is the building just an office block or a purpose-built educational campus? Is there a Student Representative Council (SRC) who are active? Are there fun and educational events? Safe parking, access to faculty members when needed.

4. Proper Accreditation?

In South Africa, the institution must register with the South African department of higher education. Degrees must be CHE accredited, 3-year chef programs must be QCTO, SAQA accredited, and all other educational qualifications must be accredited and monitored by South African education authorities. Many of the international certifications are not recognised by the departments of education.

5. Do you have to find your own internships?

If internships are part of the studies, does the establishment have a proven record of placing students in suitable establishments in South Africa or overseas? Several hotel and chef schools claim to place in the USA, UK, and other countries. Check that this is the case? If an establishment says you must find your own internship, it is a red flag.

Stephen Hickmore is Director and Part-owner of the Swiss Hotel School South Africa.

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