Convention Management, Banqueting and Events lecturer, Peter Slade, shares with us why the focus is on the process more than the product.
So, are banquets just a night of fun?
For the guests they most certainly are! For the students who’ve spent the entire term preparing a short evening of happiness for the guests, it has been much, much more than that. It has been an intense journey of self-discovery and the type of transformative learning that makes Hotel Institute Montreux graduates so confident, prepared and successful after graduating.
What hard & soft skills can be gained from studying Convention Management, Banqueting and Events?
For eight weeks, the students topping up your wine or rushing around the kitchen to get the next course out on time have gone through a transformative process which has pushed them out of their comfort zones, challenged the best of friendships and forced them to address, not only their limitations, but how they are seen by those around them.
The banquet project certainly allows the students to put into place a lot of what they learned during their journey at Hotel Institute Montreux so far. From costing out recipes, putting together Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), pairing beverages with food and implementing rigorous and effective organisational charts. The banquet is the opportunity to finely hone the hard skills required to become future managers within the hospitality industry.
“The banquet at Hotel Institute Montreux tries to mirror what students would experience in a real-life setting, the budget is fixed, just as it is with a living breathing client and the expectations to deliver on quality are genuine.”
How can studying Convention Management, Banqueting and Events contribute to a student’s personal and professional growth?
Being able to design a beautiful and colourful organisational chart is all very well and good but if you want people to follow it, you’ll need to master your skills in conflict management, negotiation, and flexibility.
“Students are forced to confront the areas of their personalities that perhaps they never really knew they possessed.”
To help the students with this they have to give feedback to each other halfway through the process to help the individuals within the team discover their hidden strengths and identify areas that may need to be adjusted to suit the working environment they are in. This level of self-reflection can be difficult for most students but can be more rewarding than the cheers and claps of the guests, the exhausted group hug once the decorations have finally been packed away and the relief of waking up the morning after knowing “I did it… We did it!”
Once the students have completed their banquets, they are asked to look at how their fellow students perceived their progress from the start of the term until after the banquet has been delivered. For me, as their lecturer, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. The moment of realisation of all they have accomplished. Not of how well the banquet was received by the guests, but how they have grown as individuals, and as a group.
The moments of stress, sometimes tears and frustration, have helped them one step further towards becoming the future leaders of industry they all have the potential to become.