Last month, Dilip Puri, former head of Starwood Hotels & Resorts in India, started Indian School of Hospitality (ISH) to disrupt the hospitality education space. The Gurgaon-based ISH has plans to expand and gradually open more campuses in India and abroad. Puri talks about how ISH is different from other hospitality schools and his areas of expertise, in an interaction with Business Today.
BT: How do you think ISH is different from the existing hospitality schools in the country?
Puri: For a successful education, it's imperative to anticipate change - not just adapt to it. The hospitality industry environment is changing at an incredible pace and if the talent is to be future-ready, curriculums need to have the newest trends and patterns incorporated into them.
The mission of ISH is to bring in a new-age educational philosophy and reimagine higher education for the upcoming generation of talent. The Indian School of Hospitality bases its unique approach to higher education on a balance of understanding the current needs of the global hospitality industry with those of today's millennial student. With a faculty comprising of hospitality industry experts and culinary veterans, the curriculum is tailor-made to prepare students to anticipate change and disruption within the global landscape - and become the disruptors of tomorrow.
The campus combines technology with high-end design, providing students of ISH an environment that helps to bring more joy into academic discovery while providing them with spaces to put their hands-on skills to the test, in a mirror-like working environment. The campus has an in-house fine dining restaurant, coffee shop, reception area and more to prepare students for future.
In addition to this, what makes ISH a differentiator is a strong academic connect with the industry, with a unique industry mentorship programme for the students, alongside regular lectures from internationally-renowned experts and industry veterans. The aim is to inspire entrepreneurship and to give today's incredible talent the toolkit to change the industry by promoting critical thinking, life skills, and the courage to take an idea and bring it to life with an in-house start up incubator called Ignite.
Furthermore, ISH has an agreement with CoHo, a technology start-up that provides student accommodation within the country. ISH is offering its students a western-model of student living, with fully furnished, modern apartment living, a flat mate system, a private kitchen and other living and recreational amenities. This changes the student's study-leisure balance and lifestyle, and reimagines the way student accommodation is both perceived and executed.
BT: What kind of programmes you are offering? What's the tuition fees and course duration?Puri: In addition to its disruptive approach to education, the ISH has the academic certification of Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne. This certification represents and recognises the ISH's dedication to provide educational excellence to its students; its commitment to Swiss hospitality education standards and its strong connect to the industry. We have started our very first batch for its Bachelors in Hotel Management and Bachelors in Travel & Tourism programmes, with Intensive Culinary Arts Certificate. Presently, we are also offering a Four Year Bachelors in Hotel Management (with a Certification in Hospitality Management), a Four Year Bachelors in Travel & Tourism (with a Certification in Culinary Arts) and a 9+3 month Intensive Culinary Arts Certificate.
In the near future, we will be offering postgraduate and executive education programmes as well as shorter duration culinary arts programmes with a unique focus on entrepreneurship and business acumen for today's world. At ISH, we are offering international standards of hospitality education for a price keeping the domestic market in mind.
BT: Do you plan to expand in the years to come?
Puri: We envisage the possibility of developing further campuses in southern and western parts of India and extending it to the markets of Sri Lanka and Nepal. Besides expanding the current campus and developing newer campuses, we will soon foray into the digital and distance education business given that we have created significant bandwidth in terms of our academic capabilities and our technology, which allows us to capture and create a significant amount of content for learning and education purposes.
BT: What was the motivation behind starting this school?
Puri: Despite the rapid growth of the hospitality sector in India, especially in the last few decades, there has been little efforts to upscale the hospitality education institutes in the sector. I was awe struck by the realisation that most of the established hotels in India have their own training schools following the age-old pedagogy. And the public institutions are very limited in various cities, are often cited for lack of keeping up with the changes in the sector and have limited innovation.
Spotting the gap, I decided to start an education venture into crafting a world-class hospitality education enterprise. It has given me an opportunity to pursue my passion for education. We are more focussed towards the learner-centric approach through which we impart life skills merged with academics.
BT: Share some information on the demand-supply situation when it comes to talent in the hospitality sector?
Puri: The hospitality and tourism industry in India is experiencing exponential growth bringing with it an influx of job openings and possibilities of tremendous economic growth. While there's an impetus of growth already coming up over the horizon, both the hospitality and tourism industries are still experiencing numerous issues with the current supply and status of manpower within the country. The current supply is much smaller than what the industry requires presently with predicted numbers making up only a fraction of future industry requirements. Furthermore, the skill sets of hospitality and tourism graduates fail to match up to industry expectations, creating additional complications and failing to bridge the gap between supply and demand.
BT: Share some details on the student placement programme?Puri: We want our students to have access to best internships and placement opportunities, to have industry leaders as mentors and to have the industry support with academic exchanges between the institute and industry. This is why we have all major brands represented by their leaders, who sit on the ISH advisory council.
The internship experience can completely transform the future trajectory of a student placement programmes. As the industry participates more and more in placement programmes, it will improve the quality and experience of interns. We need to work together to give students better insight into the inner-workings of the industry and give them an internship experience that builds on their knowledge and provides fruitful results.