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Is Switzerland the Best Place to Learn Hotel Management?

Taylor G. asked Insightful Service if Switzerland is the best place to learn hotel management. I felt I had to answer this question considering my bias towards my alma mater, UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) which I truly believe to be the #1 best university to learn about hospitality management.

Bruce Claver | Insightful Service | January 29, 2023

Summary: My reasons why UNLV is the very best university to get a hospitality education with a bonus added reference to the very best hotel management company in the world, Four Seasons Resorts.


You are probably looking at The QS World University Rankings which ranks EHL Hospitality Business School in Lausanne as the #1 hospitality school. Let’s clear up a misconception. The fact that EHL is the very first hospitality school (thus being the oldest), does not make it the best. Rounding out the top 8 are all schools in Switzerland. #9 is in the Netherlands and #10 is in Hong Kong. My guess is that these schools really focus on service standards but I am partial to the school that is ranked #2 on the list because I cannot see Switzerland as the best place to learn hotel management. It’s not the country that counts, it’s the specific university you want to focus on.

For example, Cornell University (ranked #13 on the list) is typically pegged as the #1 University to learn hospitality in the U.S. but like EHL, that distinction comes in part because it is the first and oldest in the U.S. (and probably in part because it is an Ivy League school.) They have their own hotel on campus and most graduates go off to work for high-end consulting firms rather than run hotels. Why should that make them the best in the U.S.?

UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) is ranked as #2 (before Cornel) on the same QS World University ranking, just behind EHL. UNLV has over 100,000 hotel rooms less than a mile from campus with a program that requires real paid working experience prior to graduation. Most graduates take 5 years to get through the program. You cannot get that experience and access real-life experiences at Cornell or EHL. Don’t believe the marketing about Switzerland because there are a lot of factors that should be taken into account to define “best” starting with curriculum and graduation requirements.

The best place to learn hotel management is at a university that has an all-encompassing curriculum with financial, marketing, operations, food & beverage, human resources, accounting, and law courses. It is at a university that requires real working experience in multiple departments prior to graduation. And most importantly, it is at a university that has a curriculum that you have an interest in.

In case you have doubts about the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), here is what they offer. I don’t think any university in the world can compete with the variety.