I was most interested in your two recent articles on hotel management education (Caterer, 10 August page 22 and 17 August, page 52). It was great to see Caterer addressing this sector, but it's ironic that a British publication should be promoting non-British universities (Cornell, Lausanne and The Hague) as the "big three" without considering the excellent schools in the UK. It's even more ironic that two of the three schools in your article - Lausanne and The Hague - emphasise the fact that they have shed their vocational orientation and become management schools, since most UK hospitality schools have been management-focused for many years.
I cannot speak for other UK universities, but Surrey's reputation is just as world class as your so-called "big three" for a number of reasons.
Surrey is one of only three management schools in the world teaching hospitality/ tourism accredited by both the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the World Tourism Organisation (WTO). In the UK, other AACSB-accredited schools include London Business School and Warwick Business School.
Surrey has long and well-established links with industry. We have the oldest endowed hospitality chair in the UK - the Forte Chair of Hotel Management - and a global alumni network that in the UK includes the CEOs of the British Hospitality Association , the HCIMA and Whitbread.
Our industry links ensure our students who take a year out on placement for professional training have a wide variety of opportunities in some leading-edge companies, in the UK, Europe, USA and the Middle East. Unusually for most hospitality programmes, our placement students have the opportunity to work for hotel development companies and management consulting companies such as TRI Hospitality Consulting.
The University of Surrey has topped, or been near the top, of the UK league table for graduate employability for the last 10 years, with more than 98% of our students being in employment six months after graduation.
Each year we recruit about 80 students on to our undergraduate degrees and then another 80 on to our MSc International Hotel Management. These students come to us from all over the world and very few do not have a second language. Entry is highly competitive. Undergraduates are required to get 280 points (in other words, two Bs and a C at A level), which is the highest entry requirement for a hospitality degree in the UK.
Surrey has one of the largest and most active hospitality research groups in the world, with nearly 20 academic staff, six full-time researchers and nearly 50 hospitality and tourism PhD students. Surrey was asked to research "best practice" in support of the government-funded "Profit Through Productivity" programme aimed at assisting small hospitality businesses to improve their performance. Based on this expertise, many Surrey academics have written hospitality textbooks used by hotel schools around the world.
There are other aspects of Surrey that I could also mention, but I hope you get a sense that here in the UK we can rightly claim to compete with the best in the world when it comes to hospitality management education.
Prof Peter Jones
ITCA Chair of Production and Operations Management, School of Management, University of Surrey, Guildford
Have your say
Click here to e-mail your comments. The editor reserves the right to edit comments.