WGSHA: Creating hospitality leaders of the future

Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration has been the most sought-after institute among the aspiring hospitality professionals. In an interview with Hotel Point, Thirugnanasambantham K, Principal, WGSHA, highlights the institute’s special features.

How do you evaluate prospects for students studying Hotel Management, Nutrition, or Tourism management?

The students of Bachelor of Hotel Management (BHM) may seek careers in Hotels and restaurants, tourism and allied services, retail, aviation, customer care and logistic services, serviced apartments, hospitality services for cruise liners, railways, spa operations, customer care in financial institutions, event management and many such service-based commercial ventures including technologically -driven online services and products.

Chef Thirugnanasambantham K

The students of Bachelor of Arts (Culinary Arts), at the end of this program, can work as chefs in hotels, restaurants, cruise liners etc., pursue higher studies and research, or start their own entrepreneurial venture.

The two-year Master of Hotel Management (MHM) course will build career opportunities in Sales and Marketing or Revenue Management in hotels and allied business organizations. This course also provides a pathway to a career in hospitality-related research, teaching, and consultancy.

The unique Master of Arts (Indian Cuisine and Food Culture) will give hands-on intense learning in Indian cuisine to the student, who at the end of this program can work confidently as a chef and hotelier in hotels, restaurants, airlines, cruise liners etc. or start their own entrepreneurial venture.

The Master of Science (Dietetics and Applied Nutrition) course opens up career opportunities in hospitals, nursing homes, sports organizations, Government health departments, companies and factories in addition to hospitality organizations like hotels, cruise lines etc. to them.

WGSHA has been consistently among the top two hotel management institutes in the country. What makes WGSHA different from the other institutes?

Our unique strength is the MAHE-ITC Hotels professional collaboration; one of its kind in the country.

Way back in 1986, Dr. Ramdas M Pai, Chancellor, MAHE (Padma Bhushan Awardee) and Late Mr. Y C Deveshwar (Padma Bhushan Awardee) Chairman, ITC limited, MAHE, signed an agreement to strengthen the industry and academia interface. We strongly believe that this partnership is really the core that differentiates us in the market place.

An institute with excellent brand image, three and a half decades of history, highly successful alumni base, supportive staff and welcoming atmosphere, it has been ranked 26th among the Best 50 Hospitality and Hotel Management Schools in the world 2020, by CEOWORLD Magazine. It has ranked No. 1 as ‘Supreme Hotel Management Institute of India’ by Global Human Resource Development Centre Pvt. Ltd. consecutively for the last eleven years.

It has also been No. 2 among the Top 10 Hotel Management Colleges by India Today-  MDRA Best Colleges Ranking 2020, ranked No. 2 among Top 50 Colleges in Hotel Management in India by The Week – Hansa Research – Best Colleges Survey 2019 and No. 2 among the Top 10 Hotel Management Colleges in India in Outlook- Drshti India’s Top Professional College Rankings 2019.

The college is also accredited by Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) and World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS).

For hotel operations hands-on learning, the college has installed Property Management System Software (Micros Opera) and Materials Management Software (Micros Materials Management System -MMS)

How important is Industry – Institution partnership to WGSHA and how has it evolved over the years?

The industry partners are considered as major stakeholders in decision making for curriculum design, delivery and evaluation at WGSHA. We have ensured industry participation in curriculum planning, consultancy, project work, and extension lectures by creating several platforms that ensures the presence of the representatives of the industry.

Our academic partnerships and student engagements make us a sought after college in India and from many other countries. The differentiating factors may be listed below:

WGSHA is accredited by Indian Federation of Culinary Associations (IFCA) and World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS). The tie-up with annexed hotel Fortune Inn Valley View, member, ITC’s Hotel Group for hands-on training and real-time exposure to the students of the operational departments of the hotel also differentiates the college from other institutes. The institute has academic partnerships and collaborations with George Brown College of Applied Arts & Technology, Canada, The SAGES Institute, International, Indonesia, Campus Etoile Academy, Italy, “INTRECCI – Alta formazione di Sala”, Atiken Spence Sri Lanka, Alain Ducasse, Paris, France, etc. Curriculum Conclaves are regularly held with all stakeholders – Industry, Students, Faculty and Parents and new curriculum has been adopted as part of Outcome Based Education (OBE). Maximum number of recruiters among the top brands in India and overseas, including Fortune 500 companies, visit our campus. Our industry partnerships facilitate internships and placements.

In your experience as a chef and a hospitality leader, how has Indian hospitality education evolved over the years?

The hotel management colleges have successfully provided skilled and efficient human resource for the industry in the last few decades.  However, with the changing dynamics of industry, the colleges must continuously upgrade and transform hospitality management education programmes, particularly the curriculum, to cater for the diverse requirements of the industry in India. Those colleges who have been able to understand this reality, have sustained themselves well and many others who have not, no longer exist.

With the changing dynamics of the industry, be it in service designs, use of technology, both for guest services and managing of hotel operations, the leading colleges of the country have upgraded and transformed their curriculum to the demands of the new age hospitality management education.

The old-school jobs of hotel operational departments have remained, but several opportunities have opened for today’s graduates in culinary, cruise lines, airlines, catering, vending, retailing, restaurants, start-ups and so on

Today’s hotel management students have a wide range of career options to choose from than it was just a few years back. With the advent of International hotel chains, the organisational culture in the hotels have also been very positive towards students from hotel schools.

Importance and relevance of market research in hotel management cannot be questioned. At the same time, the industry needs the employees to handle the operations efficiently to the delight of guests. Success in hotel management jobs depend a great deal on a person’s ability to make positive connections with clients, guests, vendors and other employees. After all, the industry is all about luxury, comfort and service.

To combat this challenge, educators and hoteliers need to bridge the gap between research impetus and practical knowledge. They must anticipate future challenges better and deliver curriculum accordingly.

The hospitality industry is in a consumer led brand focused era, the educational offerings should arm the graduates to take up the challenges of fast changing consumer attitudes and behaviors. Faced with this change in consumer behavior, most successful institutes will be those who continuously engage with the industry. But, the changes in the hotel management education scenario are comparatively slower than the industry expectations of graduate competences.

Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) is known for excellence in higher education. Over 30,000 students from 57 different nations live, learn and play in the sprawling university town, nestled on a plateau in Karnataka’s Udupi district. It also has nearly 2500 faculty and almost 10000 other support and service staff, who cater to the various professional institutions in health sciences, engineering, management, communication and humanities which dot the Wi-Fi-enabled campus. The university has off-campuses in Mangalore and Bangalore, and off-shore campuses in Dubai (UAE) and Melaka (Malaysia).

The university has provided a six-level, centrally-cooled indoor sports complex named as Marena for the use of students and staff. Some of the facilities provided include a 200-metre jogging track with a rubberised surface; a gymnasium with cardiovascular equipment, weights, strength training and flexibility machines; four squash courts with a viewing gallery; a basketball court five badminton courts; a playing area for futsal (five-a-side soccer); a cricket bowling machine; a kinesis circuit system and five enclosures for simulation games; a sauna and steam bath.

Technology support

Manipal Academy of Higher Education and all its constituent colleges and departments have always endeavored to provide technology-enabled services for the best of use of students and their parents. MAHE Student Life Cycle Management (SLCM), an online portal accessible by students and parents for checking their attendance, marks, mentors’ comments on their activities, etc. In addition, MAHE Technology Business Incubator (MUTBI) is an initiative of the university for nurturing and developing innovation and entrepreneurial skills among its faculty and students, as well as people of the region. It is one of the 54 TBI’s funded by National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India to promote Innovation-driven Start-ups in Udupi District, established in March 2010.

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