Student LifeHow a hospitality education helped me stand out from the business crowd

I always knew that business was my industry but it’s my hospitality degree that helps set me apart

Italian born student Leonardo Gloor is nearing the end of his studies at Hotel Institute Montreux. 2 internships down and an entire future ahead of him, we thought this was the perfect time to sit down with him and learn about his journey so far…

What were your career goals in high school?
Just like most of my friends in high school, I knew that business school was the next stepping stone in my education. However, as the conversations got deeper I could see that the majority of my friends didn’t really know what they wanted out of their degree beyond business.

The one thing that I did know – is that I didn’t want to come out of business school trained and prepped exactly the same as my peers. I wanted an education that helped me stand out.

Why did you choose Hotel Institute Montreux?
I hesitated between Bocconi University in Milano and Hotel Institute Montreux. I chose Hotel Institute Montreux because it offered a strong business degree with a practical approach. At the end of my degree, I would have a bachelor degree with a specialization and 2 international internships. That meant I would leave school with an education + work experience. I can already see how this approach is giving me an edge over my friends who chose to pursue more traditional academic business educations.

Where was your first internship?
My first internship was a cross-training in Guest Relations and Sales & Marketing at Sandals Barbados. It was a positive experience, but I knew quite quickly that a career working inside a hotel was not enough for me. I am not interested in becoming a General Manager of a hotel, I am fascinated by the business side of things behind the scenes. I wanted experience in a Corporate Office – where the global changes happen.

How did you secure your internship with Mandarin Oriental Corporate Office?
I remember it was 10 minutes before closing at the International Recruitment Forum when I decided to stop by the Mandarin Oriental booth. With nothing to lose, I told them exactly what I was interested in. The lady at the booth happened to work in the same office as the Business Development Manager in the corporate office in London, England and offered to introduce me. My first challenge was they had never hired an intern before.

Why do you think you were hired?
As a student, I knew that my profile wasn’t the most qualified since I did not have a lot of work experience behind me. I knew that on paper I didn’t match up, so I proposed a face to face interview – my chance to stand apart from the rest!

Student from Italy in Switzerland

What was your interview tactic?
I sold myself on 3 values that I learned to recognize in myself during my studies at Hotel Institute Montreux:

  1. Persistence  
  2. Personality 
  3. Professionalism


I learned early on that simply being an excellent student is not going to take me where I wanted to go. The values I learned at Hotel Institute Montreux not only matched me but also principles valued by professionals in the industry

How do you think this internship experience has helped prepare you for the professional world?
Working alongside executives at the top of their game in this business was definitely one of my highlights. Looking back, it’s incredible to think that as a student I was being pulled into top level meetings, including with the CEO! On my last day, the CEO invited me for a tea, gave me his card and told me that when I finished school to drop him a line and he would see what he can do for me. I still have his card with me!

What is your advice for someone considering an education with Hotel Institute Montreux?
HIM has an amazing network, and you are crazy not to take advantage of this!

If you are motivated, the school offers you the tools to not simply step into the world of hospitality but leap into the heart of the industry

What’s next for you after graduation?
Thanks to my second internship, I know that I want to work in Real Estate however I am still not quite sure where. But that’s one of the most exciting parts of this degree - Hospitality can take you anywhere in the world!

Italian Bachelor Student in Switzerland

Leonardo is currently studying the Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management

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