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.