Hospitality Studies Made Me a Better Communicator 


A chat about studies and life with a Swiss Hotel Management School student from Sweden

A professional portrait of me taken at the Swiss Hotel Management School.

Hi Henrik! What is the most critical skill for a hospitality professional to have? 

One needs to have excellent communication skills and express oneself clearly to achieve success in the hospitality industry. The funny thing is that it was not something I was good at growing up. But for the last several years, I’ve been working on it, and now it has become integral to who I am today.

If working in hospitality is your dream, yet you are a bit tense around people, this shouldn’t stop you from pursuing it. People skills are something that all of us get better at with time, with each encounter.

That’s so true! What excites you about the field you’re studying?

Hospitality has enabled me to travel to countries I didn’t expect to visit and meet people I would never have met otherwise. Studying at the Swiss Hotel Management School and working in the hospitality industry have afforded me the opportunity to meet fascinating people from all walks of life, expand my professional network, and make countless unforgettable memories.

Where are you currently interning?

I am interning at the beautiful Kimpton Hotel in San Diego, USA.

What role did your university play in the pursuit of your internship? 

Swiss Hotel Management School often invites various job placement agencies to introduce themselves and discuss the opportunities for students to work and travel, learn about different cultures, and gain experiences. That’s how I first learned about this particular opportunity to intern in the US.

Internships are an important part of the Swiss Hotel Management School’s educational program. Why do you think that is? 

No matter what level of management one holds in a hotel, having a well-rounded understanding of the industry is essential. I’ve gained invaluable experience interning in both F&B and Front Office departments, and I feel that I now have a better grasp of the overall hotel operations, which, I’m sure, will allow me to be a better manager later on. Not to mention, internships expose you to a variety of roles in the industry, which can help you decide which path is right for you in the future.

Why did you choose to travel all the way to San Diego for your internship?

I decided to intern in the United States because the country is well-known for its hospitality worldwide. Great hotel brands such as Marriott International and Hilton Hotels were born in the United States, which says it all. I aspire to be successful in my career, and the best way to get on this track is to learn from the best.

And why did you pursue an internship at Kimpton Hotel?

Kimpton is a hotel that provides interns the opportunity to grow. As a Front Desk intern, I am in a position to make decisions that can immediately affect our guests. Kimpton trusts and empowers me to find solutions. For example, I can upgrade rooms if a guest has a problem with their room or offer complimentary credit to be spent in the hotel’s restaurants or bars to compensate for a complaint.

Most hotels are pretty stringent about what guest services agents are allowed to do without a manager’s approval. But at Kimpton, however, we take full responsibility and authority when it comes to the care of our guests.

Is having ownership over your role important for you?

Yes. Being able to make certain managerial decisions, every day I am preparing to one day become a hotel manager myself. With this freedom, however, comes great responsibility but also great opportunities to enhance my guest service skills and learn how to give guests awesome experiences. For someone studying hospitality management, learning to be a leader and ensuring that your guests have a great time is very important.

What is the most important thing you have learned in your internship?

Before this internship, I didn’t have any experience in Front Office, so the most significant insight that I’ve acquired thus far is that smooth internal communication is key in hotel operations, that is, for example, Housekeeping giving information to Front Desk, Front Desk to F&B, and so forth.

What is it like living and interning in San Diego, California?

San Diego is the best! Guests come to the hotel and claim the same. New York, for example, is a very stressful city, and Los Angeles is too slow, or so they say. San Diego, on the other hand, is a perfect combination of the two. The people are never stressed, are exceptionally friendly, and like to chat on a bus or in the hotel.

What do you get to do in your free time in San Diego?

San Diego is famous for its beaches. I have already visited most beaches around town and heavily enjoyed the sunny weather in combination with great food. I am a big foodie and love to try different cuisines. Mexican cuisine is one of the primary influences on San Diego’s food culture, so another favorite thing to do here is to try all the different tacos that this city has to offer!

What is the most significant benefit of attending Swiss Hotel Management School?  

With experienced and accredited lectures from various hospitality fields, SHMS offers its students the best possible education and work opportunities within top service companies worldwide.

I think it’s because of their extensive educational programs that cover various hospitality topics like Revenue or Housekeeping Management and Food & Beverage training, among others. For me, learning about all the aspects of hospitality is valuable, even though I might not plan to work in all those areas. Understanding what a Financial or Human Resources department is responsible for is vital if I want to reach my career goals.

I keep the Swedish tradition alive celebrating Saint Lucia day at the SHMS.

If you can’t go to Sweden, bring Sweden to you! Switzerland, Dubai, and San Diego always take me on a trip home with Swedish meatballs and candies at the local IKEAs.

What are the people like at Swiss Hotel Management School? How important are the people for the overall learning experience?

Swiss Hotel Management School attracts people from all over the world. Naturally, studying here, you get to practice your people skills and learn about the world’s different cultures. Hospitality is about people, and if one can learn to be a better listener and communicator while understanding the other person’s needs – that’s a recipe for a successful career in hospitality.

Thank you, Henrik, for such an interesting conversation. Have a great time in San Diego, and let us know how many different types of tacos you managed to try once you come back!