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Monday, March 22, 2010

Hotel Management

With hotels coming up in record numbers to cater to the ever growing domestic and international travellers, the demand for trained professionals has multiplied in the industry.

The institutes providing training in hotel management are the 19 institutes under the National Council of Hotel Management, the institutes run by hotel chains and finally, the private institutes boasting of foreign affiliations and exotic names. For the student, the best bet is to try for courses offered by reputed chains of hotels or institutes coming under the National Council. Some private institutes are also good, but most lack the infrastructure and faculty to run a programme in hotel management, even when they are approved by the All India Council of Technical Education(AICTE).

The most sought after are the courses run by reputed hotel chains. The well-known institutes in this category are the Oberoi Centre for Learning and Development at Delhi, the Taj group's Indian Institute of Hotel Management (IIHM) at Aurangabad and the Welcomgroup Graduate Hotel Management School in Manipal. Getting in these institutes is very difficult, as the number of applications received are far in excess of the number of apllicants. The Oberoi centre, it was reported, got 23,000 applications for its course even without advertising for it. The number of trainees taken by it was 90.
How to get in
The eligibility to enter a course in hotel management is Class 12. Institutes coming under the National Council offer a 3-year diploma course while private institutes offer a 4-year Bachelor's programme.

There is an entrance test consisting of English, Reasoning, General Science and General Knowledge. The test is of 2-hour duration and is held around April every year. The test is followed by a group discussion and interview, in which a person's personality and confidence is seen. Private institutes have their tests at different times in April/May and the pattern of the paper is roughly the same. Academic sessions usually start by July/August every year.

According to professionals in the field, what is required is a good personality, a desire of meeting people, confidence, and above all, flair. One must be an extrovert. A lot of hard work is expected so a person not willing to put in effort should look for a different profession. This is because working in a hotel is never an eight-hour job and goes way beyond.

Normally, there are 20-25% girls in a batch. Girls prefer the Front Office and Housekeeping functions and some are taken in sales as well. A reputed hotel also has a woman chef. Depending on the merit that one is able to get in the test, one may get the desired location from the 19 locations of institutes under the National Council. One major disadvantage is the lack of hostels at many places and some students are forced to drop out if a hostel is not available in a particular city.

Another option is to join a food craft institute after class 10 or 12. Such institutes exist in many States and provide training in catering and food processing. Courses are generally 6-18 months long and various craft-level courses are offered. One can join a hotel in a junior level after such a course and can reach a supervisory level in 6-7 years.
There are four areas in which the training is imparted: Front Office, Housekeeping, Food and Beverages and Kitchen. Students are also taught law, economics, accounts, management and a foreign language and are thus fully equipped to manage all aspects of a hotel. Sales and marketing are taught during the third year. The course provides an all round training in hotel management, combining practical learning with classroom lectures.

Practical training forms part of the curriculum. For example, institutes have a fully equipped kitchen and even a restaurant in which they are trained. The institutes also have their own labs for housekeeping. Apart from this, in their second year, students are required to go for a 22-week practical training at a hotel. This helps them relate to the practical side of working in a hotel and to gain an insight as to which area they would like to work in, after their graduation.

Promotion avenues exist in each of the four areas. From Front Office trainee, one can go on to becoming a manager and later be promoted to a General Manager. Housekeeping is an area which does not demand odd hours and is ideal for girls and one may go on to become a manager. In the kitchen, one can hope to become a chef, which is a managerial position, after 10-15 years. Similarly, in Food and Beverage section, a managerial position can be achieved, depending on performance.

Choosing an institute
Students often ask which institute to choose. One should try to get into chains of reputed hotels because one can get exposure to a working hotel and imbibe the exacting levels of service. Institutes under the National Council are also sought after. Finally, there are private institutes. Before joining, one can make inquiries about the infrastructure, the kind of jobs that its graduates have got and the faculty at the institute. As private institutes are very expensive, such questions will prevent frustration later on.

Though a career in hotel management is a lucrative one, one should enter only if one is sure of having the aptitude.

Finally, there is the joy and satisfaction of providing the best to the guest and making him confortable. Many hotels take pride in making their guests comfortable and providing services which go beyond the ordinary. In the long run, a hospitality professional must have this tendency, which will take him a long way.
Address of Institutes in India
National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Library Avenue, Pusa Complex, New Delhi - 110012. Advertisement for admission is published in January every year and written test is conducted in April.

Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration, Valley View, Manipal - 576 119.Advertisement for admission is published in February and written test is held in April/May every year.

Indian Institute of Hotel Management (Taj Group), Rauza Bagh, Aurangabad - 431001. Advertisement for admission is published in February/March every year.

Institutes Abroad
The Hotel and Tourism School, Les Roches, CH 3961 Bluche, Crans Montana, Valais, Switzerland.
Leeds College of Technology, Calverly Street, Leeds, Yorkshire, UK.

Cornell University School of Hotel Management and Administration, Statler Hall, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.

Michigan State University School Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Management, 424 Eppley Centre, East Lansing, Michigan 148822, USA.

Apart from these, there are private institutes in India, which are approved by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

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