Christophe Gulli, Dean of Practical Arts, Glion Institute of Higher Education

Christophe joined Glion Institute of Higher Education in 2017, arriving with considerable experience of working in some of the world’s finest hotels and higher education institutions. Born in France, Christophe began his education by studying at Hotel School Poligny, achieving both a Certificat D’Aptitude (1989) and a Brevet De Technician Hotelier Restaurant (1990). He then began his hospitality career in 1991, working at the luxury Grand Hôtel de Cala Rossa & Spa for several years. Christophe then progressed into a number of Head Bartender roles at some of France’s finest hotels, including the five-star Hotel Les Airelles and the Résidence Pierre Et Vacances Le Christiana.


Sitting in a classroom taking notes for hours doesn’t work anymore. The expectations of students have evolved rapidly, with social media, on-demand knowledge and remote connectivity all contributing to learners expecting more from educational institutions.

Today’s students need a richer experience. To move and be moved. They need to be actors in their own learning process. And in a degree-level program they want to find something engaging and exceptional. Within the world’s best hospitality education institutions, this expectation is met through an approach that involves the Practical Arts, industry exposure and personal exploration.

Done right, the outcomes for students encompass transformed abilities and defined pathways, but also more emotional benefits such as increased self-confidence and self-awareness. The wellbeing benefit should be a key focus for all hospitality educational institutions, because, more than simply wanting an engaging learning process, what students deem to be important within that process has changed too.

“The topics, which are in themselves forms of art, enable these young adults to develop key leadership abilities…”

On the Glion Bachelor’s, BBA1 is dedicated to the Practical Arts, immersing students in kitchen, service, housekeeping, front office and more, enabling them to explore and experience potential career pathways. Looking internally, students also take part in a mindfulness week, which includes yoga, music, theater and public speaking. The topics, which are in themselves forms of art, enable these young adults to develop key leadership abilities such as managing emotions, understanding settings, using body language to express themselves, and being comfortable in front of an audience.

For modern managers the importance of image is greater than ever, and in hospitality, possibly the most diverse industry on the planet, the ability to clearly communicate and lead your multicultural team is paramount.

Experimental, engaging and exciting

As well as the acquisition of key leadership skills, a more holistic approach in hospitality management education is also about helping students experiment, find their strengths and weaknesses, and know themselves better. And possibly above all, it’s about making transformative learning exciting for students.

As educational institutions, we have a responsibility to design programs that are attractive for a young, social media generation that are happy to quickly reject anything that doesn’t interest or engage them. Increased engagement in learning means students will be more invested in studies and more likely to attend classes, get involved in extracurricular activities and truly seize the opportunities on offer to grow and learn. This in turn leads to increased employability and a higher likelihood of success, in both their professional and personal life.

“They don’t have family members nearby and they are in a new country, so participation and integration is essential…”

High engagement is particularly important at Glion, where we welcome students from one hundred different countries, many with the ambition of becoming a leader. They walk onto campus with different cultures, educational backgrounds and family contexts. They don’t have family members nearby and they are in a new country, so participation and integration is essential, and the first semester in Practical Arts is a key way to achieve this.

The personalization of learning

The enablement of personal learning journeys is an area of program development that demands ever-increasing attention, as students seek an individual experience much in the same way Generation Z does as guests.

Done right, this enables students to feel they are on an educational journey unique to them, even if the program is the same for all of their cohort. This can be seen in the way one student can align to a practical art more than another, or in the way they perceive music or theater differently. The very best learning experience for students is not black and white, it is an immersion in hospitality, in new topics and environments that bring personal and professional outcomes and revelations.

The establishment of values

The most successful leaders and entrepreneurs live by their values and use them to guide and inspire their business and team. Personal values are key to differentiating oneself, feeling self-assured and fulfilled, and achieving high-level professional success. Most of the time, young students see values as something a company has, and it’s the job of educational institutions to help them discover and solidify their own pillars of truth.

At Glion, our approach supports students in this process by allowing them to face different cultures and viewpoints, experience camaraderie in a working environment and immerse themselves in moments of self-reflection and development. The outcome we see on the Bachelor’s is 21 year-olds transformed from their 18 year-old selves, confident and clear on what matters to them and how they want to go about achieving success.

Emotional intelligence vs artificial intelligence

As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace and we see the increased use of AI, robots and autonomy across hospitality, possessing the advanced soft skills, emotional intelligence and leadership skill set that comes from a more experiential approach to learning is without a doubt a way to future-proof high-level professional success.

At Glion, our career-focused and immersive bachelor’s and Master’s programs equip students with the ability, expertise and confidence to lead right from graduation day, and well into the future – whatever it may bring. Engaging, exciting and truly transformative, they have been specifically designed to meet the expectations of a generation of students that demand a progressive learning experience.

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