Dilip Puri, Founder and CEO, Indian School of Hospitality shares the nitty-gritties of the entire hospitality education and industry
Q. What is the future of hospitality industry in India?
The hospitality industry in India has been growing steadily and shows no signs of slowing down. With more international players entering the market, there is increasing internationalization, professionalization and more and more opportunities for our country’s talent. With a reimagined approach to hospitality and culinary education, I believe the hospitality industry can find itself in another golden age before we know it, and successfully put India on the map not just for exceptional hospitality which is what we are famous for already, but for an excellent standard of education too.
Q. What is the industry-academia gap in this sector?
The hospitality industry environment is changing at an incredible pace and if the talent is to be future-ready, curriculums need to have the newest trends and patterns incorporated into them. Despite the rapid growth of the hospitality sector in India, especially in the last few decades, there has been little efforts to upscale the education in the sector. Outdated curricula, badly adapted Western teaching models and discrepancies in teaching all result in it becoming clear that the curriculum being taught in institutions around the country falls short of understanding current industry requirements, as well as more modern, up-to-date pedagogical approaches.
Students are not equipped with sufficient practical as well as life-long learning skills. With an already pronounced shortage of students enrolling for hospitality management programmes, those who do are not properly prepared by institutes. This results in an ever-widening gap in demand and supply, with much potential talent falling under the radar, or lagging behind severely due to archaic and irrelevant teaching methods.
A four-year hospitality undergraduate programme, in which a student does
two internships of 6 months each, means 25 percent of their undergraduate education is in the form of real world experience.
Q. How does hotel-institution interaction help students of this sector?
In many vocational and business oriented undergraduate programmes across the country, a very significant part of the education is industry internship opportunities provided to students that allow them to better understand their academic learning. Let’s take, for example, a four-year hospitality undergraduate programme, in which a student does two internships of 6 months each. That means that 25 percent of their undergraduate education is in the form of real world experience.
This presents a real opportunity for companies to participate in the education process and to help shape the future of an entire industry by providing a fruitful and structured learning experience during a student’s internship with them. Unfortunately, a large number of companies do not share this worldview. Many view interns as a source of free labour, or simply as a burden forced upon them, and rarely provide students with any value adding learning during the internship. This type of behaviour towards the intern is often the cause for the student to take a dislike to not just the company or brand they are interning with, but to the industry as a whole.
These same companies then go on to hire the same students after they complete their graduation, putting them through another two years of management training- wasting precious time, effort, and money on something they could have done for a fraction of the cost- or even no cost at all- during the student’s internship with them. The approach to successful, structured internships has to be three-pronged strategy- with the learning institution, the company and the student all needing to become active, interested participants. The broader industry, along with academia, must frame and implement an internship policy which delivers measurable outcomes to the student’s learning path. To ensure internships truly develop as vital educational experiences for students, systems need to be put in place that monitor and provide oversight to internship education practices within companies. Through a synergetic relationship between academia and the industry, these systems would ensure students get the perfect dose of practical expertise and learning, while companies, just a few years down the line, get graduates that are passionate, adept and ready to fill roles without the need for lengthy and expensive retraining.
Q. What kind of skills should a candidate have to be a part of the industry?
Hospitality graduates, due to the complexity of their curriculum and multiple internships undertaken during their studies, have an impressive amount of flexibility in their career choices. This comes as a boon for today’s generation, who have a world that’s brimming with more opportunities to pursue than ever before. With the rise of technology and the internet, the amount of possible career options millennials have before them is world’s away from the job market we were looking at just three or four decades ago. That’s why pursuing an education such as hospitality, which gives millennials the key to numerous doors instead of just a select few, can be an exciting venture. It’s a world full of incredible opportunities we live in – and hospitality education gives millennials access to a larger selection of choices to pursue than most traditional paths.
Q. Please tell us about the infrastructure at the campus.
ISH thrives to provide students with an environment that encourages learning, collaboration and innovation.The infrastructure provides a highly interactive and intellectual atmosphere. The philosophy behind the entire space was to create an environment that would spark joy and excite our students the second they step foot on the campus, day in and day out. Inspired by international campuses,bright, bold colours, graphics, and spaces for students to study and socialize were crucial to us in order to breathe new life into a space that could help us reimagine hospitality and culinary education.
In addition to outside the box design, the campus holds one of the country’s largest educational culinary complexes, spread across one master-chef style training kitchen, a bulk kitchen, and a full patisserie, an in-house fine dining restaurant named canvas, a coffee shop delish, a fully operational start up incubator and interactive lecture theatres and classrooms that connect students with industry leaders from across the world.