India’s hospitality industry has experienced a phenomenal growth trajectory over the last few years owing to the country’s thriving tourism sector and booming economy. The hospitality industry has been quick to embrace technological advancements to offer innovative and seamless experiences to guests. To keep up with the dynamic and ever- evolving industry, hospitality schools in India have been playing a crucial role in grooming future leaders with a unique blend of operational and management skills.
One such institute that has been making waves in the industry since 2018 is Servo Hospitality School. It started with a batch of five students and was able to successfully place them for International Internships or pathway programmes for higher education abroad. For instance, an international internship at Hilton, Lake Taupo, New Zealand, and higher education at a partner college in Europe, MCAST, Malta.
In 2020 when Covid struck, with all International borders closed and a shutdown of the hospitality industry, placements were derailed and the institute had to think of ways to tide through the tough phase.
Upskilling in Unprecedented Times
The COVID-19 pandemic brought many challenges i.e. student attendance online was a huge concern and practical training and internships were impossible. This demanded adopting a proactive approach by both the faculty and the students. The faculty of Servo Hospitality School had to up- skill themselves and get acquainted with online teaching techniques. Classes were made more interactive through webinars and curriculum was modified to make it more conducive to home based virtual learning. While teachers put their best foot forward, students also matched it with equal resilience and determination.
Training partner Hotel Ramada, Dehradun, also worked well for the institute through year round delivering of webinars and online training by the head of departments of the hotel. Under the able guidance of the school, the 2019 batch students were successfully placed in the Maldives and the Middle East post Covid. The graduating batch of 2020 also got record placements at J.W. Marriott Marquis, Dubai; Radisson Blu, Fujairah; and Innahura and Kuredu resorts in Maldives; Queen’s Palace in Doha to name a few.
In 2022 again, the institute had record placements; some at Taj, Chandigarh; Royal Mirage, Dubai; Cosmopolitan, Dubai; Crowne Plaza, Dubai; The Secure Inn, Oman; Intercontinental hotels, Kuwait, after which there was no looking back.
Coping with Innovations
For a new college, which commenced its operations four years ago, it has been challenging with the pandemic hitting in its second year. Instead of thinking about ‘why did this happen?’ the institute decided to look for ‘what is this trying to teach?’
The lessons came. For one, the institute became proactive, upgraded its Foundation Diploma students to a three- year course, and upgraded the digital infrastructure to cope with virtual learning. Two, it became more resilient and tried to look for solutions each time it hit a problem. And three, it managed to build a team.
The faculty members, as well as its administrative staff, had faith in the institute. Even the ones who left during Covid were more than happy to re-join the Servo family post Covid. And though the learnings were tough and came at a high cost, the institute was able to achieve a record placement in 2021 with 100% placement of the 2021-22 batch.
The Founder, Mr Vishwas Ghai, a Hotel and Hospitality Management professional with years of experience in Hospitality and many awards to his credit, had a major role in the success of the institute. Mr Vishwas Ghai has completed his education at Glion Institute of Hotel Management, Switzerland, and The Blue Mountains International Hotel Management Institute, Australia. The Managing Director, Ms Surbhi Ghai, an economist and educationist has also played a pivotal role in the success of the institute. She holds a Master’s degree in Economics from University College London, and a BA (Hons) in Economics from Miranda House, University of Delhi. She has authored several research papers as well as opinion columns in leading national dailies such as The Business Standard and The Hindu. Both Mr Vishwas Ghai and Surbhi Ghai are passionate about introducing disruptive training and curriculum towards scaling new heights and setting new standards for hospitality training.
Enhancing Indian Hospitality Industry
Servo Hospitality School is determined to undertake many initiatives towards advancing Hospitality Management education in India. Introducing an International Foundation and International Graduate Diploma program with an accreditation from OTHM, United Kingdom, was its first and foremost pursuit.
It has also started academic pathway progression programs that give students the flexibility to complete their last year of education (level 6) from any of its international university partners– be it The Mediterranean College, Greece; HTMI, Switzerland or IMI, Switzerland.
This enables the students to avail B.A. Honours Degree from the respective pathway college or university.
Baby Steps to Destiny
The biggest challenge for the institute in recent times was Covid between early 2020 and the end of 2021, which left much uncertainty about the future. Despite it, the institute has managed to do well and record a double digit growth over the last two years.
The credit for this goes to the students, their parents, Servo faculty, and the non- teaching staff who helped the institute move forward, even if it meant taking baby steps.
The institute envisages to launch a Centre for Hospitality Research in the next one year to bring together a community of businesses, corporations, faculty, students, researchers and practitioners from geographies far and near that are committed to the cause of ‘research & development’; work on the common agenda; advance them and accelerate the development of the hospitality industry.
The institute is only in its 4th year, but it is perpetually working towards providing a variety of courses to choose from, focusing on skill development.
The vision of the institute is to continue to be a key training partner in the hospitality education consortium. Its mission is to settle students into International hospitality. The institute provides the students with an intensive hospitality experience through its International curriculum, dynamic faculty and state of the art infrastructure.
Its core value is to bridge the gap between in- class learning and industry expectations and establish excellence via experience, for students placed both in India and abroad.
Further, the training partner, Hotel Ramada, Dehradun, also provides immersive, on-the-floor training to the students.
Starting 2023, Servo Hospitality School will be launching a four years BHM Program with affiliation from a leading university in Uttarakhand. Also, it will offer a dual program that integrates the BHM program with the three-year International Graduate Diploma program it already offers. The integrated program will also offer students the choice of an International career path.
As part of the curriculum, the school will continue to provide opportunities for Domestic and International internships.
The International curriculum in affiliation with OTHM, United Kingdom and International academic progression pathways to partner universities in Malta, Greece, and Switzerland along with International Internships are all part of Servo’s commitment to preparing the students for a global career path!