MBA in International Hospitality Management at IMHI (ESSEC - Cornell University)
Although many MBA programs offer generalized business studies, IMHI (Institut de Management Hôtelier International) is specialized in international hospitality management. IMHI was founded in 1981 by ESSEC Business School and Cornell University Hotel School, with the specific objective of responding to the increasing expertise and growing internationalization of the hospitality industry. This highly focused approach allows students to build managerial expertise in their chosen profession. The program requires 18 months of study plus a 3 month internship period.
The MBA is accredited by the French Ministry of Education at level I (the highest level of accreditation in France) and by the AACSB.
The Cornell University - ESSEC partnership
IMHI benefits from a solid and long-standing partnership between two prestigious international institutions:
Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration, a world-wide leader in hospitality management education.
The ESSEC Graduate School of Management, one of Europe's most prestigious business schools.
Internationalization is at the core of IMHI's mission, attested to by:
Our students, which each year represent over 25 nationalities
Our international faculty (mainly American, Canadian and European)
The careers of our alumni, represented in over 55 countries.
Industry implication - Top executives actively participate in IMHI courses and students constantly apply theories learned in class to real-world business situations by organizing assignments, projects and professional events with industry leaders.
Personalization: The relatively small class size permits close relations between students, professors and administrators. The modular curriculum allows each student to build a customized program.
ESSEC's international business school campus offers students a large choice of student activities - academic, professional or leisure-related.
The city of Paris, a short distance away, offers exceptional opportunities for cultural, leisure and professional activities.
Before joining IMHI, Nicole Van Den Dool (graduate of '99) obtained a Bachelors degree in Hotel Management from the Hotel Management School, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands. After graduation, she worked for HVS (Hotel Valuation Services) International, then moved to Marriott International in their Feasibility Department. Below, she outlines what she obtained through studying with IMHI.
Nicola Van Den Dool, graduating class of '99.
"A colleague recently asked me what I had actually gained from my studies at IMHI - Cornell / ESSEC, the MBA in International Hospitality Management. I started by telling him that IMHI offers a great opportunity to meet and work with a wide range of nationalities, and cultures. The programme also provides a large variety of courses, which enable you to integrate your experience and knowledge. It then however struck me, that I was missing something. I realised that IMHI has taught much more than that: it has broadened my view on the hotel industry, and life in general.
I graduated from the Hotel Management School in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, in 1996. I spent my internship year in operations at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta, in the USA. It was there I met an IMHI student who introduced me to the Director of the programme at that time. It was not a hard sell; the IMHI programme offered what I was looking for - the opportunity to expand my knowledge, and the chance to further my career.
I started IMHI in September 1997, and was bewildered in the beginning. There were many nationalities present and the atmosphere was stimulating, and motivating.
The two-year educational programme is a tough one, and requires time and dedication. There are several required courses (which include finance, accounting, marketing, etc) and there are also a variety of optional courses (ranging from timeshare to creative finance). The number of students is relatively small, which enables you to develop a more personal contact with the professors. A large part of my learning came from out of class interaction with professors and students.
One of the major benefits of IMHI, was the opportunity to do an 'apprentisage' (professional mentorship programme). This structure enables the student to work part time in company, and through the French apprentisage tax system, the school fees are paid for. I joined the International Hotel & Restaurant Association (IH&RA) in Paris in the programme development department. The apprentisage enabled me to increase my knowledge of the hotel industry, and to combine theory with practice. It also helped me to improve my time management skills, as you had combine work with school projects. With the IH&RA I attended several hotel conferences, and managed to build up a network of industry contacts. I even had the opportunity to speak at the annual conference in Durban, South Africa, on how to attract the younger generation - 'Generation X' - to the industry.
After I had graduated from IMHI, I joined HVS International (Hotel Valuation Services) in London, as a hotel consultant. There, IMHI had well prepared me for this position, as consultancy depends on a mix of skills and knowledge. In August 2001 I had the opportunity to join Marriott International in their Feasibility Department, based in Switzerland. My role is to analyse new hotel projects in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and to recommend whether Marriott should progress with those projects or not. It is a dynamic and educational environment, and I think that IMHI has enabled to understand this environment and to function in it.
In summary - a great learning experience
A degree is what the student makes out of it. IMHI is a tool that you use in your professional and also personal life. Looking back, there is not much I would change. It all has been part of a learning process, and one that was well worth it."