IMHI Class of 2016-2017

IMHI Class of 2016-2017
Class of 2016-2017

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Welcome to The Lab!

The delicious smell of Italian cooking wafts down the Student Association hallway at ESSEC. Its source is The Lab, an Italian deli run by the MBA in Hospitality Management’s Student Association.

On the menu this week: Pasta with a variety of sauces (carbonara, bolognese, pesto, asparagus, bacon & veggies, “crème d’olive”), pumpkin-ginger soup, and a selection of desserts.

The Lab’s incarnation as an Italian deli is new this year. Originally opened by Hospitality Management students in 2010, it has served noodles, hot dogs, and croque monsieur sandwiches over the years. Today there are 35 students on the team, a mix of first and second year students, working towards The Lab’s ultimate goal: to raise money for the MBA in Hospitality Management’s graduation ceremony.

Graduation fundraising, however, is only one part of The Lab’s role in the ESSEC community. The Lab also helps introduce the MBA in Hospitality Management to students from other programs. It connects the MBA to the greater ESSEC community by supporting other student associations, such as providing dinner for sports teams, or by feeding hungry students between the hours of 6-8 pm when other dining options are scarce.

Additionally, The Lab provides students a chance to put their studies into action. “We’re in Hospitality, so this is a chance for us to show what we can do,” explained Clément Deplanche, the 2nd year student in charge of running The Lab. The Lab aims to provide a greater sense of service than the mass student dining options. Running a dining establishment also hones students’ organization skills as they deal with food suppliers and start planning for the October opening months beforehand. This year, the students have applied the skills learned in their Digital Marketing class to promote The Lab via social media.

Stop by for some fine food and MBA-honed hospitality from The Lab team:

Clément Deplanche, Jean-Gabrielle Personne, Mathilde Martelly, Marine Steinbach, Pierre-Antoine Erny, Albin Arnoux, Laura Dion, Pauline Acheron-Pintureau, Rudy Guez, and Tiphaine Dubois-Carmine.

 Look who else is a fan of The Lab!  Like The Lab on Facebook to find more fans!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Waffles, Brotherhood, and Service

By Gabriella de la Torre, MBA in Hospitality Management, Mexico & USA, 2012-2014 2nd Year
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” - Mahatma Gandhi
It’s Wednesday at ESSEC, and a mouthwatering smell drifts through the halls. I follow it, ultimately arriving at The Lab, the Italian delicatessen run exclusively by IMHI students. Here, warm smiles greet me as I notice the freshly made waffles being sold by the members of IMHI’s 4L team. Once a week, the members of this organization spend the greater part of the afternoon preparing and serving these delicacies with the aim of raising money for their mission.

What is 4L and what is their mission? The organization’s president and second-year IMHI student, Pierre-Alexandre Kaouza, describes his team’s participation in the greater “4L Trophy, the biggest student rally in the world with more than 1,400 teams and 750 schools represented.” This rally consists of a 6,000-kilometer adventure race through France, Spain and Morocco and is also a “humanitarian mission [in which] the teams bring school supplies, sports material, food and medical equipment” to children in Morocco through the support of the association Les Enfants du Désert.

One of the members, also a second-year IMHI student, Caroline Pravongviengkham, describes her motivation for participating in the 4L:
“Even before joining IMHI, I wanted to join this organization. I believe that the 4L Trophy is a great adventure to share with my peers and a great way to make a difference by bringing school supplies to children in Morocco[…] 4L IMHI-ESSEC in one word: WAFFLES! Just kidding. Brotherhood, because the 4L Trophy is a humanitarian mission in which we need to be united as a team and with all the participants of the race, as well as open to the local population that we are helping through this adventure.”
Participation in this association is not just fun, games and service, however, and Caroline also cites the intricacies of preparing for the 4L Trophy as part of what motivated her to join:
“Being in the 4L IMHI-ESSEC is especially a good way to experience how to manage a project and to raise money through the organization of events or through the search for sponsorships. Personally having difficulties with networking, the 4L IMHI-ESSEC is a good exercise for me to go beyond my fears through approaching companies and communicating my project to them in order to raise funds or to find prizes for the Luxury Raffle we are going to organize.”
Organizing the different two-person teams, raising funds for the long journey and finding a balance between these responsibilities, internships and, now, coursework, are just some of the many challenges faced by the 4L participants, in particular by Pierre-Alexandre who describes his presidential duties:
“I did my internship in South Africa from April to September. At this time, I had just been appointed 4L president. The other students in the association were also abroad. This was my first main challenge, as I could not have direct contact with everyone at a time when we were just beginning to operate. Another challenge I faced was identifying the strengths of the other members [in order to] assign them responsibilities in which they were going to perform the best. Finally, planning for the 4L is a long project and very demanding in terms of time and effort because most of the students in the association are IMHI students, [studying in] a very academically demanding program. One big challenge is to keep the balance between the two and make sure that everyone is doing the same so we can all pass our courses and be on the starting line the 13th of February!”
With little over two months until the race kicks off, the members of the organization have also been able to further develop skills that are sure to help them in the future. “This experience will help me in my future career as I now understand better what it is to be manager; the areas where you absolutely need certain qualities and how your time working in the association is divided,” states Pierre-Alexandre. “This is the perfect real-life application of [our] courses and a lot of the concepts that we are learning, [which have become] very useful to me in the management of this association.”

The members of the 4L IMHI Team have found a way to bring together many important qualities that characterize the hospitality industry they are so passionate about: travel, teamwork and service; and ultimately, through participating in this competition and serving others, they have discovered more about themselves and their roles as future managers.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Managing People, Projects and Presentations

By Gabriella de la Torre, MBA in Hospitality Management, Mexico & USA, 2012-2014 2nd Year

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” - Ken Blanchard

The second year and one-year track students have spent the last 6 weeks preparing for the final presentation for the Managing People course.

Task: Develop a Human Resources Strategy for a Sofitel hotel in various countries.

Each team was required to imagine the establishment of a Sofitel in a different country –Japan, South Africa, Oman, Angola, Mexico or Turkey– while providing recommendations regarding human resource management. These countries have yet to see a Sofitel property within their borders, allowing for a truly challenging endeavor for the different teams. Finding relevant research in unknown markets, many of which are relatively underdeveloped, and managing group meetings amidst work for other classes and extra-curricular activities were just some of the challenges we experienced during the past couple of weeks.

PowerPoints, presentation notes, suits, heels and ties inundated the amphitheater as the moment of truth arrived for each team. Team after team presented their respective HR strategy to the evaluation committee, composed of Professor Stefan Gröschl; Nicolas Graf, Academic Director of the MBA in Hospitality Management, and François Febraud, Vice President of Training & Development for Sofitel Worldwide.

Presenting our recommendations to someone so close to the subject of our project was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and François made the most of it as well by providing us with pertinent and real-world feedback on our presentations. This feedback, much of it do with strategic analysis and presentation skills, will be useful in going forward with our next presentation in another five weeks and is likely to shape our thinking and presentation techniques going forward into the “real world.”