Hotel Institute Montreux has been named as one of the world’s top universities, according to the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings. In this interview, Ulrika Björklund, HIM Dean, shares her thoughts on this outstanding achievement.
The QS World University Rankings by Subject, released March 3rd by global higher education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds, names the world’s best universities for the study of 51 academic disciplines.
Hotel Institute Montreux (HIM) ranked 6th top school in 2021 for the study of Hospitality & Leisure Management, an extraordinary improvement from last year’s 24th position. The full rankings can be found here.
How do you explain HIM's higher ranking this year (from 24th in 2020 to 6th in 2021)?
HIM has always delivered world-class academic programs and we are very proud of our graduates who have gone on to have successful careers in multiple professional fields. However, last year’s QS ranking result was most definitely a wake-up call, we knew we had to change the status quo. Challenges and negative feedback can be addressed in different ways: for us at HIM, as a world-class academic provider, we decided we needed to revisit and rethink how we engage with our industry partners, and ensure we continue to offer innovative, dynamic, and real-world programs.
We decided we needed to revisit and rethink how we engage with our industry partners, and ensure we continue to offer innovative, dynamic, and real-world programs.
I am pleased to see how all the efforts and hard work from the entire team at HIM created such amazing and positive change. Going from being the 24th school in the ranking to the 6th is amazing and very humbling.
How did your school continue to ensure that the quality of education was not altered when classes moved online?
It was very important to us to ensure that our students’ education carried on. With so much uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we wanted to offer our students a sense of stability, consistency, familiarity, and security. As so many of our students were away from home, the one constant was life at HIM, the courses, the classes, and the daily meetings with the faculty team. Our program outcomes and learning objectives did not change. What did change was how we reached these goals and learning outcomes. Listening to a lecture via Zoom for several hours per day can be very tiring.
Our lecturers introduced real-world case studies, projects, and assignments with the generous support of our partners. This term for instance, our students are working on projects with Edmond de Rothschild, Champagne Lanson, the Luxury Institute, and L’Alpage, just to name a few. The classes are interactive and engaging even when delivered via Zoom. All of the above would not have been possible without the involvement of our industry partners and we are extremely grateful for their support.
Our lecturers introduced real-world case studies, projects, and assignments with the generous support of our partners.
What positive changes has COVID-19 brought to the school?
COVID has certainly been challenging and quite disruptive, but as mentioned above it has forced us to revisit how we deliver our courses and how we interact with our industry partners.
What are you the most proud of?
Our students. The switch to online classes was not easy for anybody but our students embraced the “new normal”, adjusted, adapted, and remained, to this date, dedicated, motivated, and professional. I have to say the same about the team at HIM, they too showed that anything is possible and quickly modified their lessons and course delivery with minimal or no disruption.
This year’s THE-ICE Student Barometer Survey results for HIM are a clear testament to the care and support students feel they have received at HIM, especially in the areas of quality of lecturers, employability, learning support, and performance feedback.
So not only am I very proud of our students and the entire team at HIM, I am also extremely proud of the results HIM has had so far this year. We are, and will continue to be, a world-class hospitality and business education provider.
What is planned to maintain or surpass this excellence?
I think the one thing we will continue to do is work closely with our industry partners and alumni. Ensuring we bring real-world experiences into the classroom will be key and we will need to continue to be dynamic, innovative, and agile… just like the wonderful world of hospitality!
QS Quacquarelli Symonds is the world’s leading provider of services, analytics, and insight to the global higher education sector. The QS World University Rankings portfolio, inaugurated in 2004, has grown to become the world’s most popular source of comparative data about university performance. Their flagship website, https://www.topuniversities.com – the home of their rankings – was viewed 147 million times in 2020, and over 98’000 media clippings pertaining to, or mentioning, QS were published by media outlets across the world in 2020.
The rankings provide an authoritative comparative analysis on the performance of 14’435 individual university programs, taken by students at 1’452 universities which can be found in 86 locations across the world, across 51 academic disciplines and five broad Faculty Areas. More methodological information can be found at https://www.topuniversities.com/about-qs