IMHI Class of 2016-2017

IMHI Class of 2016-2017
Class of 2016-2017

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Strategic Management: The CSI Sequel

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

The month of June has flown by for the graduating IMHI students, who have been diligently working on the deliverables for their capstone project.

The Mission: Create a branding or development strategy over the next ten years for Steigenberger Hotel Group (SHG).

After countless sleepless nights, hours of research, report writing, group meetings and feedback sessions with Professor Nicolas Graf, the final reports have been turned in, and the groups are now looking forward to July 1st, when our findings will be presented to SHG representatives.

Looking back on this experience that occupied virtually every waking moment for the IMHI students, we have the chance to hear about the CSI / Strategic Management challenge first hand from different group members.

Gaelle Nziwoué, Second-Year Student
“CSI or Human Resources? The experience would have been beneficial if the only objective of this exercise was to be good consultants and truly satisfy the needs of the company we were advising regarding its international expansion plan. However, the real challenge was to come together and work non-stop with five people with different experiences and personalities. Nevertheless, each of us learned to be patient, to respect others and to let go of his or her ego for the benefit of the greater team. All of us were conscious of the need to adopt this philosophy in order to overcome the workload that was imposed on us. In the end, with only a few weeks before the end of our studies, there was not a better way to prepare us for the professional world.”

Bruno Trenchard, Second-Year Student
“A tough, demanding, but highly enriching experience that taught us how to work in a professional context with all the issues involved. Managing a team, explaining different concepts, motivating teammates, and working in a good atmosphere are the things that are best learned on the field, and through this project.”

Sara Semaan, Second-Year Student
“Contrary to everything I have heard from students who already did the project—‘It is hard.’ ‘You will get into fights with each other.’ ‘You will hate your group after CSI.’ My experience was contrary to everything I was expecting. CSI was great! It was challenging, since it required us to sum up and combine everything we have learned during the previous two years in one long project. It was time consuming. We couldn’t focus on other courses, and even annoying at some point! But at the same time, it was fun! You should choose your teammates wisely, since you are going to spend literally two months with them. I could not be happier with the choice I made from a team standpoint. It was an incredible team! These two last months are what I will remember the most from IMHI!” 

Luc Jiguet, One-Year Track Student
"CSI has been by far the biggest challenge of the MBA. It asked all members of the team to [come together to] make a strong analysis for the hotel company. The core competencies and other theories learned during the program were utilized in order to create the best teamwork possible for the project. A good experience to remember for any hardship that we may encounter at work. Just three words would summarize CSI: never give up!”

With a variety of viewpoints and feedback, CSI and Strategic Management have proven to be a challenging experience from a number of standpoints that has prepared us for difficulties we may face in the real world. Stay tuned for the results and experience of our final presentations on July 1st!

Current IMHI student status: Sleep-deprived...

Friday, June 20, 2014

Where are they now? Interview with alumnus Christophe Hobeika H12

Where can an MBA in Hospitality Management from ESSEC IMHI take you?
Christophe Hobeika H12, Assistant Marketing Manager at Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai, shares his experience:

1) What drew you to work in the hospitality industry and study with the ESSEC MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI)?

Since I was a kid, I have always been attracted to food and restaurants. I wanted to become a Chef and, with time, discovered that hotels were actually a space where I could picture myself quite well. I then decided to pursue my studies in hospitality and work at the same time in an apprenticeship. After my BTS (French undergraduate degree) I wanted more: more educational challenges, greater depth, and a degree with a great reputation. That's why I picked the ESSEC MBA in International Hospitality Management. Or it picked me, I don't really know. :)

2) Please describe your career path after IMHI? What is your current role and its responsibilities?

Before IMHI, I was pursuing hospitality studies with an apprenticeship scheme. I first worked in Operations for 2 years (front office) in independent Parisian hotels and 1 year in Sales and Marketing, followed by 3 months at the InterContinental London Park Lane. Following this experience, I joined IMHI.

After IMHI, I went straight back to the UAE, where I had previously completed a 6-month internship at the InterContinental Abu Dhabi during the MBA. I loved my time there and was eager to get a position in one of Dubai's top performing hotels. I landed at Madinat Jumeirah, the Arabian Resort of Dubai, part of the Jumeirah Group, which represents close to 50% of the entire UAE portfolio (9 hotels). I took a step down in order to get in and started as Marketing Communications Executive. After 6 month in the job, we started talking about the next step. One year later, I was promoted to Resort Assistant Marketing Manager and I am now in charge of the entire digital srategy of the resort, as well as marketing campaigns for the resort’s entertainment/lifestyle side (Madinat Theatre, Madinat Amphitheatre, Talise Fitness, Sinbad's Kids Club and our private beach). For full details, you can see my LinkedIn profile.

3) Was there anything in particular about the ESSC MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI) that helped prepare you for your career path or qualify you for your current position?

Given the rapid evolutions taking place in the hospitality industry, some of the specific information you studied at IMHI may have changed only two years later...  But the way the professors make you think and challenge you will stay with you for life.  This is what I value about my experience at IMHI. I am now able to take very quick business decisions because things just make sense to me. I always justify everything I say, which is highly appreciated in the business environment and supports whatever actions you take.

4) What advice would you give to current students who preparing to enter the job market, or who are undertaking their internship?

It's extremely easy when you study at IMHI to forget that you are still young and have yet to prove yourself in a very competitive market. It's great to believe in yourself, but you have to give yourself some time to grow. Look for a strategic position for your internship, something that will prepare you to grow quickly once you join a new company. It's okay to step down in order to move up. Patience is key.

5) What is your favorite memory from IMHI?

The people you meet, be they students, professors or industry leaders, are a great opportunity. IMHI is a multicultural program and the people there are just amazing; I’m glad to call many of them my friends.

What competencies are needed to succeed in the hospitality industry?  Download the white paper "Aiming for Excellence in the Fast-Growing Hospitality Industry" by Professor Nicolas Graf, Academic Director of the MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI).

Download the MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI) Brochure

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Get About, Get Acquainted, Get Together

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

The ESSEC-IMHI MBA in Hospitality Management focuses not only on providing students with the educational tools to succeed, but also giving them a variety of opportunities and mediums to connect with the greater IMHI network. One of these opportunities are monthly Get Togethers for current students and alumni. Once a month at the Hotel du Collectionneur Arc de Triomphe, students and alumni alike have the opportunity to interact with each other, share their experiences, and potentially build up contacts for current or future endeavors within the industry.

In the cool interior of the Purple Bar, first-year students share their internship experience with their second-year classmates who are soon to graduate, while in the outside courtyard, former classmates from previous years sit around a table catching up on each others’ professional lives. This setting provides a unique opportunity to further integrate oneself into the strong and vast IMHI network. For current students in particular, this is also a valuable platform to learn from the experiences of previous students and to bounce career ideas off of industry professionals in a relaxed and casual environment.

These Get Togethers have also expanded internationally, with groups of IMHIs around the world gathering reinforce the network. In the past six months alone, reunions have taken place in Geneva, Dubai, Singapore, Berlin, Montreal and Madrid, boasting strong attendance and positive reviews from attendees. With the continued expansion of the network year after year, it is expected that these gatherings will also continue to increase in frequency and value for the many people that make up the IMHI family around the globe.

ESSEC-IMHI Paris Get Together

Friday, June 6, 2014

A Snapshot of Hotel Demand Management

By Sophie Le Vot, MBA in Hospitality Management, France & USA, 2012-2014 2nd Year

This April, the ESSEC MBA in Hospitality Management (IMHI) introduced a new class: Snapshot. This one week intensive course, offered within the E-Commerce concentration, was taught by well-known industry representatives. On the first day we were welcomed by a panel of 5 professionals: Michael Levie (COO, citizenM), David Turnbull (COO and Founder, SnapShot), Cornelia Kausch (Owner, CK Hospitality Advisors), Lennert De Jong (Director of Distribution and Business Development, citizenM), and Darja Gogunova (Head of Consultancy, hit-Consult GmbH), who seemed very excited by at the prospect of kicking off this intensive week. Indeed, it was as much of an innovation for them as it was for us, since it was the first time they had given the course.

The Snapshot course aimed to provide an in-depth overview of five key strategic areas in hospitality: asset management, e-commerce, demand generation, revenue management and communications. For each of these particular subjects, one expert in each field gave a presentation on the subject. I think everyone would agree that this was not another regular theoretical course, but rather a means to get actual insight and an in-depth understanding of how it really works in the field. Each spokesperson made a point to give us insight into their daily operations, direct feedback, and what new trends and innovations are in the pipelines. They fostered a truly interactive ambiance, welcoming all our questions throughout the week with the same interest and enthusiasm they did on the first day. For example, David Turnbull gave us key insights on a new technology to be launched soon (Snapshot), aiming to enhance revenue management.

What made it even more interesting was that we were given a case study to analyze progressively throughout the week. We were given a real hotel case and were asked to assess their current situation on the market, then make a complete evaluation with original proposals to optimize their business model, inspired by lectures we heard each day. In a way, the fact that we had to present these proposals to top executives gave us the extra motivation to construct an interesting analysis and get constructive feedback from them directly. Plus, Michael Levy threw in a two-night stay at Citizen M hotels for the winning team as an extra incentive!!

This course was a fantastic initiative; it gave a clear and complete illustration of the reality of hotel operations, key insights by industry leaders, and advice for us as future representatives in the hospitality industry.  My only regret is that it was only a week long; more time would have enabled us to cover even more subjects in greater depth, and a bit more time to work on the case study as well. There was a lot of material to cover and digest in a single week, which was challenging when you didn’t have prior knowledge of a specific subject. It definitely gave us a lot to think about and I more than recommend this course to future students.

The Snapshot team also wrote about their experience leading the class for the first time.  Check out their blog and photos.