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This month, we would like to introduce you to Neha Sandhu, a dedicated student at SHL Schweizerische Hotelfachschule Luzern and a member of the HSMAI Europe Student Council.

Our interview aimed to delve into Neha’s inspiring journey and discover the driving force behind her passion for the hospitality industry. By exploring her motivations and experiences, we gain valuable insights into the qualities that have propelled her towards a successful career in hospitality. Read her thoughts and experiences below.

Q: Why did you choose to study Hospitality Management?

I developed my passion for hospitality while working at a 4 star hotel in Switzerland, which ultimately led me to choose a career in this field. Seeing the happiness of my guests when I serve them and making their experiences memorable brings me immense joy. Meeting the demands of guests and surpassing their expectations brings me a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfilment. 

One of the main reasons I choose hospitality is the diverse career opportunities it offers, whether it is working in hotels, restaurants, events or tourism, there are so many paths to explore within the industry. Based on my work experience, I believe that joining the hospitality industry, especially SHL, was the next step for me, it allowed me to combine my passion and my studies. 

Q: Why are you passionate about hospitality?

The happiness of guests when their expectations are surpassed is the reason behind my passion for hospitality. When I am busy with my work, time becomes insignificant as my primary focus is the satisfaction of my guests. I believe that being passionate about what we do is essential, as it allows us to go above and beyond. Contrary if someone lacks passion for their work, it may indicate that it is not the right job for them.

Q: In your opinion, what makes this industry unique?

One of the unique aspects of the hospitality industry are the diverse job opportunities that are available within the same field. Another fact is that our industry is a guest centric industry that works around the interactions with guests and customers. Building positive relationships, understanding and fulfilling the individual needs and providing personalised service, which will make their experience so unique that they would like to relive this experience. 

Q: What are the biggest challenges as a student in hospitality?

As a student in hospitality, we do encounter challenges, one of the primary challenges I believe is to find a good place for internship , to gain practical experience. Finding the right placement that offers a good learning environment is very important. 

Another of the challenges is the workload and time management, hospitality programs can be demanding and with a significant amount of workload including assignments, projects, internships or part time jobs. Learning to navigate and prioritise tasks becomes essential for students, and over the time we develop the skills to effectively manage time. 

Q: What are the main opportunities as a student in hospitality?

There are several main opportunities for students in hospitality, one of them is the practical experience through internships. These opportunities allow students to apply their theoretical knowledge in the real industry. Another opportunity would be networking, hospitality offers many networking opportunities. 

As a student it is possible to connect with professionals, attend industry events, join hospitality associations and build relationships that may lead to job opportunities or future collaborations. As a student we have the opportunity to gain international experiences, chances to participate in exchange programs or pursue our internship in different countries.   

Q: What do you think the industry could be doing to attract more talent into the hotel/hospitality industry?

In order to attract more talent the hospitality industry could consider a few strategies, one of them would be the collaboration with education institutions ,this can create a strong connection between industry and students. 

Another one would be to create scholarships programs or financial aid opportunities specifically targeting hospitality students, this can help to alleviate the financial burden and attract talented students. 

An addition would be to offer well-structured internships programs that provide students with experience, in this case mentoring programs can be established where experienced professionals can guide and support students, helping them navigate the industry and make good career choices. 

Q: Would you recommend others to study hospitality?

Absolutely, I highly recommend studying hospitality to students who have a passion for the industry. It is crucial to have a deep understanding of the diverse career opportunities available within hospitality. Practical experience and networking are also essential, allowing students to engage in hands- on work and establish valuable connections. 

Q: Why did you decide to join the HSMAI Europe Student Council?

HSMAI Student Council is a wonderful way to share your experiences with other industry leaders and obtain feedback. I decided to join HSMAI also for professional development, by joining them Is possible to access industry insights. In addition HSMAI provides platforms for networking and collaborations among professionals. I believe HSMAI has the potential to make a positive impact and retain the students leaving the industry.  

Q: How is HSMAI Europe Student Council helping your studies/students?

Participating in the HSMAI Europe Student Council has provided me with the opportunities to engage with students from different universities, facilitating the exchange of ideas and experiences. Engaging in this experience has significantly improved my networking abilities and facilitated the development of meaningful connections. 

Q: What is your dream job when you graduate? 

I am confident in my decision to continue my career in the hospitality industry. My plan is to gain experience as a general manager, with the long term goal of becoming an event manager and eventually establishing my own event management company.

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