IMHI Class of 2016-2017

IMHI Class of 2016-2017
Class of 2016-2017

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

IMHI & Entrepreneurship: Mama Street

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

“To me, entrepreneurship means something different. I think of it as identifying and valuing opportunity.” - Glenn Hubbard

At IMHI, students have the possibility of choosing among four different concentrations—Luxury Services Management, e-Commerce, Real Estate and Development or Entrepreneurship—with the aim of personalizing their educational experience and expertise for the future. The Entrepreneurship specialization focuses on providing students the tools and thinking required to start their own business in the hospitality industry, and this year, there are a number of students who have gone even further than the theory to launch their own businesses while completing their studies.

One of these students is Norman Kolton, who is in the process of raising funds for his restaurant, which is to be the first to offer Bangkok style street food in Paris. He describes Mama Street as a place where customers “will find the flavors, smells and excitement of Bangkok” in a venue with “a style that is deeply inspired by [the city’s] street restaurants with colors, materials and décor that are perfectly blended to create a real feast for the senses.” When asked what was the greatest motivation for launching this business, Norman cited the excitement of creating a project from A to Z, being his own boss and finding a way to truly express all his creativity within the sphere he is most passionate about. And Mama Street is definitely expected to embody this sense of creativity as “an artsy place featuring regular exhibitions from local photographers, graffiti and street artists. Mama is an open space where all dishes are prepared,” before the customers’ eyes, “just as it's done in Bangkok!”

 Norman also mentioned the importance and the role that IMHI and ESSEC played in the development of his concept. From finance classes that helped him “create the financial accounting system” for the restaurant to “ESSEC Ventures, which allowed [him] to meet professionals in all different areas,” the educational environment that surrounded this idea was beneficial in a variety of ways, including the ability to reach out directly to some of his target customers, fellow classmates and students. In addition, Norman cited the advice and feedback of many professors as crucial in his venture and he states, “ESSEC gave me all the confidence needed to create my business.”

Currently working on raising funds through, a crowd funding platform for projects linked to culinary themes, Norman is excited about the possibility of “being involved in all the different aspects of creating a business,” from the design and operational to the legal and financial issues. The first Mama Street restaurant is expected to open in November of this year, and he hopes to have a second and third location in addition to the Kidnap Mama catering service up and running in a year’s time. Thanks to his studies at IMHI, his personal and professional experience and his creative and entrepreneurial spirit, Norman has been able to identify a valuable opportunity in the Parisian marketplace and will hopefully serve as an example to future IMHI students with a passion for creating a unique product or service in hospitality.

For more information about Mama Street or to find out how to contribute to the success of this venture, please visit Mama Street on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The End of the Beginning: CSI

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

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” – Winston Churchill

Sitting in Professor Nicolas Graf’s Competitive Strategic Intelligence (CSI) class two weeks into the third and last trimester of the year, we are reminded of the beginning of our time at IMHI. For some of us this was two years ago, for others it was simply seven months ago, but we all recall the first class we had with Professor Graf during the program’s Introductory Session – Introduction to Strategy. This time around, things have changed. Not only are we more knowledgeable about the hospitality industry after our respective IMHI courses and work experience, but also the stakes are much higher.

As our capstone project, we have been asked to work as consultants for Steigenberger Hotels with the aim of creating either a branding or development strategy for the group. This project is to be completed in conjunction with another class, Strategic Management in Hospitality, over the course of the last two and half months of our IMHI experience. In the CSI course, the groups have been diligently working on the first assignment, which pushes us to open our mind beyond France and beyond the hospitality industry to gain an understanding of major trends and global forces that are likely to have an impact on the firm in question. Short deadlines, massive amounts of research and a requirement for succinct, precise and insightful deliverables make for a true challenge for each of the groups.

This final stretch of our IMHI journey is likely to be a test in many respects: testing our stamina, testing our limits and testing everything we have learned over the course of this academic experience. For many, this last trimester may seem like the beginning of the end of a unique chapter in our lives. Through this particular project, however, it becomes clear that this just the end of the beginning: the beginning of our deep exposure to the hospitality industry and the beginning of our new careers. This project is truly the culmination of our individual experiences and will provide us yet another opportunity to put what we’ve learned into practice in a real-life situation.

Steigenberger Consulting Project Kick-Off

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

It’s all about competencies: ESSEC Hospitality Forum

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

“The end of education is to see men made whole, both in competence and conscience.” - John Dickey

On a rainy Friday in Cergy, IMHI students, alumni and the general public were invited to the program’s first ESSEC Hospitality Forum. This event featured three roundtables with a variety of industry professionals that aimed to provide insights as to where the hospitality industry is heading, as well as to offer a greater understanding of the individual competencies that are required to thrive in each of the three domains presented: Hotel Operations, Finance & Real Estate and Distribution & E-Commerce. Companies represented at these roundtables ranged from major hotel companies, such as IHG, Accor and Starwood, to real estate advisory firms, JLL, to online travel agencies, Expedia. Each of the nine panelists drew from their personal experiences to answer a range of questions aimed at diving deep into the intricacies and challenges facing their particular area of expertise. Audience members were also able to virtually participate in these insightful discussions by sending their questions to the various panelists via Twitter.

These roundtables were then followed by the official launch of the program’s junior consulting organization, Junior IMHI Hospitality Consulting, highlighting yet another opportunity for future students to develop many of the core competencies, knowledge and experience that were addressed by the panelists.

After listening to industry executives throughout the morning, both IMHI and ESSEC students had the chance to further explore and share their competencies at the career fair that featured 21 different hospitality companies that same afternoon. Representatives from each of these organizations welcomed students to their stands and presentations in order to share information about potential career opportunities and overviews about their company cultures and identities. This part of program was especially crucial for (and well-received by) this year’s graduating class, who will receive their diplomas in just a little over two months and are therefore diligently executing their career searches.

The first ESSEC Hospitality Forum was a true success for both students and alumni. This event highlights not only a willingness to constantly create new opportunities for students within the IMHI program, but also further enhances one of the program’s main goals: to facilitate and foster the development of skills, knowledge and competencies in every one of its students for their respective futures.