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In this second part of our interview, the CEO talks to us about the latest developments in training and the school's efforts to remain at the cutting edge of industry needs in its academic offer and of innovation.


In this second part of our interview, the CEO talks to us about the latest developments in training and the school's efforts to remain at the cutting edge of industry needs in its academic offer and of innovation.

Category: Worldwide - Careers - Recruitment / Job / Training - Interviews
Interview made by Vanessa Guerrier-Buisine on 2024-02-07

Carlos Diez de la Lastra, CEO, Les Roches

Carlos Diez de la Lastra, CEO, Les Roches
Photo credit © Les Roches Global Hospitality Education

Les Roches CEO has made it a priority to amplify the digitization of the training on offer, to provide an arsenal of high-performance teaching tools, while perpetuating the tradition of excellence in terms of teaching and hands on learning. In particular, by surrounding himself with the best experts, to instil in tomorrow's leaders the very essence of the hospitality business, combining fundamental knowledge with agility in the face of technological and behavioural changes. This evolution also involves the introduction of digital certification programmes that offer a personalized solution to the varied needs of working professionals.

Overhauling the programmes are new courses, masters, post-experience, eAcademy, Carlos Diez de Lastra talks to us about the changes made at Les Roches, to remain at the forefront, and among the best international hospitality management schools in the world.

Journal des Palaces: You recently announced an overhaul of your training programme and the addition of new study programmes and graduate modules. What are the implications of these changes?

Carlos Diez de la Lastra: In fact, our recent overhaul of the training programmes stems from a strong desire to stay one step ahead of the fast-evolving hotel industry. We are aware that the demands of this industry are constantly evolving and increasing, as are the skills required to excel in this field. At the same time, technological advances and the transformation of today's professions mean that there is a growing need for 'continuous training', i.e. training that is ongoing throughout a career lifetime.

In response to these challenges, Les Roches has developed a remarkable digital experience during the Covid-19 period and maintained to offer greater flexibility. Our executive graduate programs (Masters’ and Postgraduate), for example, can now be carried out in a hybrid format, combining online and face-to-face teaching. This hybrid approach meets the needs of industry working executives looking to hone their skills while managing their professional responsibilities. Nevertheless, he stresses on the importance of the face-to-face component of Les Roches’ unique educational model to excel.

Have you reworked the skills expected of your lecturers?

In redesigning our programmes, we have strengthened our faculty with experts in the field, working professionals and seasoned innovators. This guarantees our students a high-quality education, delivered by professionals with an in-depth understanding of today's operational realities.

Our initiative also aims to address the current talent shortage in the tourism and hospitality sector. We are committed to contributing to the industry with highly qualified professionals capable of meeting the demands of an ever-changing market. By supporting the industry through this proactive approach, Les Roches plays a key role in creating a skilled and adaptable workforce for the future of hospitality and tourism.

Among your new Masters courses, you are launching a Masters in Hospitality Management. Can you tell us more about the programme?

The new Master's in International Hospitality Management that we are launching is an initiative that aims to offer a comprehensive experience that is adaptable to the realities of the industry. The programme, available in Switzerland and Spain, is designed for students with a Bachelor's degree or those with real and relevant experience in the industry, who are looking to complement their skills with a Master's degree.

The programme, which lasts a total of 18 months, is characterized by its dynamic, practice-oriented structure. It begins with an intensive first semester dedicated to the fundamentals of hospitality, finance, revenue management, marketing, and event management. This knowledge base prepares students to meet the complex challenges of the industry.

In addition to this general foundation taught by leading experts in the hospitality sector, professionals have the opportunity to specialize in the second semester by choosing one of the six post-experience specializations on offer, which allow them to broaden their professional and employability profiles as experts in some of the sector's most in-demand trends. These specializations include the Postgraduate Diploma in Food and Beverage Management and Entrepreneurship, the Postgraduate Diploma in Leadership and Talent Management, the Postgraduate Diploma in Golf Management, and the Postgraduate Diploma in Luxury Cruise Management. Depending on the specialization chosen, the course will take place in Switzerland or Spain.
Also, students undertaking the post-experience postgraduate program upon completion can choose another post-experience specialization and complete the Les Roches Master’s in Business Administration (MBA).

Finally, to successfully complete this master's degree, students must work on a six-month professional project that concludes the program. Students have the opportunity to put the knowledge they have acquired into practice, either by focusing on an industry-oriented research project or through an internship. The latter enables students to put into practice the skills they have acquired during their training.

In addition, Les Roches also offers a new Master's in Sports Management & Events. These two new master's programs join the MBA in Global Hospitality Management, the Master's in Marketing for Luxury Tourism (MSc) and the Master’s in International Hotel Management (MSc) to complete our graduate academic offer.

Who will supervise this new Hospitality Management course?

The Masters’ in International Hospitality Management will be supervised by the dedicated team of experienced professionals, deans and academic experts that comprise our Faculty, guaranteeing excellence in quality and the relevance of the knowledge provided to students. This master’ programme as well as all our academic offer embodies our commitment to providing quality education and qualifying professionals for the current and future challenges faced by the hospitality and tourism industry.

From a practical point of view, the aim is, above all, to be able to reach a wide range of professionals to support them in their specializations. That said, and as is the case for all our academic programs on our two campuses, the students will be in 'reduce-sized' classes so that they can benefit as much as possible from the support of our Faculty and teams.

Why launch post-experience programmes? How were they developed? Who are you targeting?

Les Roches' new post-experience postgraduate programmes were launched in response to changes in the tourism and hospitality industry. Aimed at graduates with two years' experience or professionals with a minimum of five years' experience, these programmes offer specializations such as leadership and talent management, food and beverage management and entrepreneurship, golf management and luxury cruise line management.

These specializations, based in Switzerland or Spain, aim to impart sector-specific skills. We aim to prepare students to excel in specific areas of the industry, thereby contributing to the continued growth of these dynamic sectors.

What other skills do you want to pass on to your students?

These programmes have been designed to go beyond the acquisition of technical skills, by focusing on the development of key soft-skills, and leadership and managerial skills. These programmes incorporate key elements specific to their field, teaching students how to lead teams, make strategic decisions and adapt to the constant changes in the industry. These essential skills are underpinned by a practical and immersive approach, enabling graduates to excel as competent leaders and managers in the professional world.

What expectations do the Leadership and Talent Management and Luxury Cruise Line Management programmes meet?

The Leadership and Talent Management programme, it is a very special program, which is based on the best self-assessment models in the world to help managers understand their competencies, strengths and weaknesses to lead themselves and then adapt their strengths to create the most effective leadership style according to the situation and type of talent your business needs. It responds to the growing demand for professionals who can effectively manage human resources, anticipate organizational change, and foster the development of talent and retention within the company.

The programme consists of an initial block of 15 to 17 weeks of academic courses, followed by a week's immersion workshop, before being completed by the professional project (six-month work placement or research project).

What about the Luxury Cruise Line Management programme?

This is available on both our campuses and is a response to the significant growth in the luxury cruise industry. It is a unique program in which accepted students receive a support program from one of the best luxury cruise lines in the world that guarantees them a professional position and career plan upon completion.

This programme trains students in the specific operations of luxury cruise services, covering aspects such as accommodation, events, catering, sustainability, sales and maritime law. It also consists of an initial block of 15 to 17 weeks of academic courses, followed by a professional trip to Miami, before completing the professional project (six-month internship or research project).

What are the terms and conditions of these programmes?

In both cases, they last a maximum of two semesters. In terms of content and format, it varies according to the specific programme chosen and the student's choices regarding the second part of their degree. The course content is designed to be comprehensive and specialized, ensuring a deep dive into the knowledge and skills needed to excel in the areas of leadership and talent management, as well as luxury cruise management.

Could you tell us about your eAcademy, which allows professionals to train more flexibly? How was this online training offer developed? What is the profile of candidates for these certificates?

Les Roches eAcademy embodies our commitment to making the quality of our teaching and experience accessible to a broader audience seeking further specialization in these fields. These online courses combine flexibility and academic excellence. The “Digital Certification Programmes”, made up of different specializations, enable participants to follow their vocation and develop their managerial skills at their own pace.

This solution offers a personalized response to the diverse profiles of professionals looking to broaden their horizons in the hospitality sector, while taking advantage of the flexibility of online learning.
The four certifications available are:
  • Certified Hotel Finance Analyst
  • Sustainability Specialist
  • Certified Digital Marketing Specialist
  • Certified Teacher D
Each option is made up of five modules (Short Learning Program - SLP), which can be taken independently or combined to obtain the full digital certificates. This modular approach allows participants to tailor their learning path to suit their interests and career goals.

This, combined with the online format of the digital certificate programmes, allows participants to access high-quality education from anywhere, removing geographical barriers and making learning easier for professionals and students alike. Each module is designed to be engaging and interactive, integrating multimedia and real-life case studies and working together, to enable effective learning. All this ensures a flexible and personalized Les Roches experience for each participant.

students at Les Roches school

Students who choose Les Roches enter a school that combines luxury tradition and perpetual innovation
Photo credit © Les Roches Global Hospitality Education

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About the author

As a journalist and luxury hotel expert inspired by the men and women who embody it, Vanessa aspires to enhance and sublimate the beauty and elegance of palaces through her writing. "In a palace, simplicity serves the quest for excellence" she admires.

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