Dr. Cédric Poretti, is an Assistant Professor of Accounting at EHL Hospitality Business school. He has developed and teaches courses in financial accounting, managerial accounting and financial statement analysis. Dr. Poretti has published various papers in scientific journals and regularly participates in international conferences. Since 2017, he also served on the board of AAIG, an association focusing on Corporate Governance research.
The hospitality industry is known to be customer-centric industry, an approach that hospitality business schools are keen to pass on to students by providing a rich education in soft skills. Once on the job market, young graduates have an extensive background that are second to none and include communication, presentation, manners and leadership skills. However, managers are required, no matter the industry, to also master more quantitative fields such as economics, finance and accounting – what more commonly call “hard skills”. Indeed, the ability to understand one’s environment at the macroeconomic level, to plan and express one’s vision in quantitative terms, but also to understand and communicate with financial experts are essential assets.
Therefore, in addition to the hospitality industry’s cherished soft skills, hospitality management courses now place a strong emphasis on more quantitative areas, giving future graduates the tools to distinguish themselves from graduates of other fields of study. For example, a good hospitality manager needs to have a thorough understanding of economics, financial markets, management and financial strategies, as well as being able to understand and identify the ins and outs of new technologies (e.g. digitalisation, decentralization, data protection, big data). Essentially, as our world becomes more and more sophisticated and the labor market challenging, a broad spectrum of skills, both quantitative and qualitative, are needed to make one’s way among the competition.
The advantage of studying at a top hospitality business school is that the skills developed to be a future good hospitality manager are useful well beyond that industry, they are transferable to other sectors such as finance. Indeed, in the face of digitalisation, the financial industry must rethink its business model. New technologies, big data and blockchain open up perspectives that were unimaginable 10 years ago. In this fast-moving environment, it is crucial for financial institutions to differentiate themselves by seeking diversity and new skills to broaden the service dimension of their offer. This differentiation requires the recruitment of talent with both soft and hard skills. On the soft skills” side, the human centric aspect is more and more critical – a recognized quality of the hospitality industry. However, these skills are purposeless without the ability to understand and operate in a highly sophisticated financial world.
Conscious of the importance that team diversity can play in this strategic repositioning, the financial industry is now taking a keen interest in students graduating from hospitality business schools. They represent a valuable source of talent, precisely because they combine quantitative skills with a strong customer focus. These graduates are now frequently recruited by the Big Four for their know-how and client orientation, by financial and/or real estate consultancies for their professionalism and market knowledge, or for example by private banks for their ability to understand the financial markets and communicate with clients. To put it simply, in a financial world where the human factor is back in the limelight, knowing how to mix business – hard skills- with pleasure -soft skills- seems to have become a must.