Location – Rte de Glion 111, 1823 Montreux, Switzerland
Website – http://www.glion.edu/
My journey started almost 40 years ago, as a young engineer, then a consultant and a manager. I began teaching 20 years ago, sharing my experience in purchasing, supply chain, and operations, and more recently in digital transformation technologies, at HEC Paris, Kedge, EM Lyon, Grenoble School of Management, and finally, program director at EDHEC. I hold a DBA from Paris Dauphine (2016), an MBA from Kellogg Graduate School of Management (1989) as well as a metallurgical engineering degree from the University of Liège (1983).
I have also co-authored two books on Strategic Supplier Management and Value Creation: Collaborative Sourcing (Presses Universitaires de Louvain 2005) and Les Achats Collaboratifs (De Boeck 2012), and written multiple articles for academic and professional publications. It is this three-pronged expertise in the industry, consulting, and education that convinced Glion to ask me to become the Director of the GIHE Switzerland and UK campuses, to lead academic, operational, and student experience initiatives.
I have become a thought leader in B2B collaborative relations and Purchasing Leadership for sustainable competitive advantages. I worked for the operations practices of Booz Allen (Chicago, Paris) and McKinsey (Brussels, Geneva), helping large clients transform their approach to the supply chain. At PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay (Dallas, London, Bern) I developed and implemented an international purchasing strategy focusing on securing privileged access to key supplier resources, and enhancing competitive advantages. During my last corporate position, as head of global purchasing with GSK Biologicals (Brussels), I transformed purchasing from a tactical and administrative function to powerful support of strategic initiatives.
Over the last five years, as a Professor at EDHEC, I applied the concepts of Purchasing Leadership to digital transformation. Alongside my responsibilities as Director of the Master in Strategy Consulting and Digital Transformation, I explored the business challenges presented by the digital transformation of Operations to capture sustainable competitive advantages, looking at transformative technologies like artificial intelligence, the blockchain, the internet of things, and virtual reality.
Learning with Technology
Online education is fundamental in overcoming spatial, temporal, and personal barriers to deliver to very diverse audiences. In an ever-changing world, led by digitalization, sustainability, and innovation, we develop a digitized curriculum of the Swiss model of hospitality education backed by modern classrooms and unique learning environment facilities. Facilities are operated by students under the supervision of professionals, each best in their domain of expertise, and provide a real-life experience with real customers. The latest virtual experience technologies offer a hybrid approach to combine traditional classroom experiences and observational learning with virtual classrooms.
We are also a partner of the UNWTO online Academy whose strongest priority is to digitize education, to become more accessible and useful for everyone. This high-quality learning experience is available for everyone at an affordable price and caters to those who are looking to improve or supplement their current skill set in order to adapt to this fast-growing and evolving sector.
To adhere to the fast-evolving world of the hospitality industry, we tailored a portfolio of Executive programs such as the new Executive Master’s in Luxury Management & Guest Experience by Glion as well as a free online course ‘The Luxury Sector: Customers and Premium Experiences.
We were founded as a hotel school 60 years ago this year. Since its foundation, Glion has been a byword for excellence in hospitality business education. The institute follows a curriculum of the Swiss model of hospitality education, combining practical instruction in the kitchen, service, and room operations with theoretical and general management courses. Glion Institute of Higher Education provides a unique learning environment to a diverse student body, with modern classrooms and learning facilities, gastronomic restaurants, and furnished accommodation available on every campus.
And while we have maintained our strong commitment to the hospitality industry throughout this time, in recent years we have also developed a specific focus on the luxury sector. In response, Glion was the first hospitality business school to create a Luxury Brand Management specialization for Bachelor students and more recently a Master of Science in Luxury Management and Guest Experience. By doing this, we aim to prepare students for roles not just in luxury hotels but also in luxury goods, private banking, real estate, retail, and all other bespoke services aimed at high-net-worth individuals expecting excellence in guest experience.
Solution to the Problem
Challenges are best overcome by cooperation. This is what I developed in collaborative purchasing, addressing the challenges of competition by combining the strengths of clients and suppliers within an extended enterprise pooling resources to grow, and besting more rigid competitors that kept a short-term focus. Likewise, when organizations face challenges, they must unite their resources to increase their capacity to deliver. First, listen for a grounded diagnostic, then develop a solution as a team, convince the organization of its validity, and finally implement overcoming natural resistance to change. Those abilities must be encouraged by the culture of the organization, a “Savoir Etre” at the heart of the Glion experience.
Source of Motivation
Students at the world’s best hospitality schools have high expectations. And rightly so. They hold ambitions to be leaders, entrepreneurs, and change agents, and they expect those same schools to help deliver that future. My responsibility as an education leader to ensure we equip our students with the expertise and ability to elevate them above the competition and enable them to achieve these lofty goals is what motivates me. In the case of Glion, an enduring commitment to teaching excellence in hospitality and luxury business, that combine to necessitate an unrivaled learning experience, one that prepares students to excel in the most demanding roles, right from graduation day is what gets me going.
Rather than who, it is what: the disconnect between what academic research was proposing, and the everyday practices in enterprises. I wanted to help those universes get closer.
The education sector today is progressively focusing on the student experience because the one-size-fits-all paradigm is no longer regarded as the best method to study. With the next generation of global citizens having great aspirations for autonomy, adaptability, and globalization in the education system, it is critical for institutions to deliver tailored learning, which can only be imagined by combining technology-enhanced education with traditional “hands-on” collaborative learning grounded in practical cases.
Message for Future Leaders
My message is to look toward the future with optimism. But also, to open your eyes to the changes that will if anything, accelerate as travel, tourism, and hospitality bounce back from the pandemic. If you can stay one step ahead of these changes – be they technological, behavioral, or just fashionable, you will prosper in your career or in your entrepreneurial ambitions. The core skills of hospitality – particularly soft skills – are highly transferable. The age of the linear career is largely over, and the key to successfully negotiating a non-linear career is to acquire the breadth of knowledge that will enable you to pivot more easily to a different path when the time comes. One of the keys to achieving this is through a commitment to lifelong learning as a means of self-development.
Developing a leader’s mindset, confidence and outlook is an invaluable asset to draw on in both covering letters and interviews when applying for dream jobs. I believe that a good manager needs to experiment in practice, with all the professions of hospitality to get a full understanding of how hospitality organizations work. The hospitality industry today is a territory of opportunity and among the most dynamic in the world. Education is the key to transforming this sector to capture the opportunities of a world facing profound mutations.
Future Plan of Action
In the coming years, I aim to leverage my extensive professional experience in the academic, consulting, and business world to further position Glion at the forefront of Hospitality digitalization and innovation overseeing around 1,600 students and a team of 250 employees and fulfilling my responsibility of leading the GIHE Switzerland and UK campuses, driving and delivering further innovative strategies related to academics, operations, and student experience.