Travelling the globe with ESSEC’s Global MBA major in Hospitality Management (IMHI)

By: Victoria Estic, ESSEC student.

Diversity is highly valued in ESSEC’s Global MBA major in Hospitality Management (IMHI), and this quality is reflected not just in its orientation and its student body, but also in the composition of its teaching staff.  As befits one of the leading schools producing graduates for the global hospitality sector, ESSEC’s hospitality faculty not only have widely different educational and professional backgrounds but also hail from every corner of the globe. Here we take a look at four really great teachers that truly represent the spirit of the IMHI program.

The first is of course Professor Peter O’Connor, Academic Director of the program and the one who teaches both the Business Computing and the eCommerce courses.  Coming from Ireland, Peter has a deep connection with the hospitality sector. While he holds a PhD from Margaret University College in Edinburgh and has authored both textbooks and countless articles, his true value is his expertise on using electronic channels of distribution in hospitality, as well as on how technology can be used to enhance operational effectiveness in hotels. Peter is greatly appreciated amongst his students. He is not only passionate about his subject but can communicate and pass this onto his students in only one class! A talented speaker, he is a strong believer in “action learning” and “learning by doing”.  While difficult, and often frustrating, for some, by forcing participants to think for themselves, experiment and find creative solutions, this quickly produces deeper learning that traditional methods. “Instead of immediately revealing the ‘right’ solution, by trying over and over people finally succeed and understand much better what they’ve done”.  Perhaps the best reflection of this approach is the high level of technology literacy amongst graduates of the program, a competency much appreciated by employers.

A second teacher who has had an enormous influence of generations of IMHI students is Professor Robert E. Kastner, nicknamed Bob, who comes from America and teaches Financial Accounting. After completing his studies, Bob taught at Cornell on the faculty of the School of Hotel Administration. He is widely known as a lecturer and producer of management development programs for the global hospitality sector. He has had a long association with leading international hospitality management companies, and also works with Robert M. Chase & Associates to deliver executive education programs using two management simulations, the Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Simulation Exercise.  Bob’s highly dynamic nature, enthusiasm, and ethic nature represent well his American genes. Bob is an excellent teacher who pushes students to work hard and excel at what they are doing, with the result that, during their careers, graduates think back about Bob’s financial accounting classes & methods. His key battle cry is “cash-flow”!   Everything invariably has to do with “cash-flow”, the lifeblood that makes a company run well.  Behind his serious manner, Bob is a very nice and funny teacher.  Students will never forget Bob and his countless hilarious ties!  He is a truly passionate teacher who definitely doesn’t leave students indifferent. 

Adding further to the international dimension is Revenue Management specialist Dr. Sunmee Choi from South Korea.  Another Cornell graduate, she teaches courses on quantitative analysis and decision modeling, particularly applied to the Revenue management area. Before joining the academic world, she worked in several interesting industry positions, including Director of Hotel Revenue Management at, as well as in operations for companies such as Hyatt, Hampton Inns, and Sheraton. Sunmee is an amazing teacher who clearly knows her highly technical subject inside-out. She is passionate about research and provides students unique academic articles to read and analyze. Rather the simply teaching classes, she encourages students to dig deeply into research and innovation.  Her way of teaching, which is very methodical and thus very different from Professor O’Connor’s more unstructured approach, represents well her South-Korean roots and thus confronts students with the perfect opportunity to learn about different ways of working.  Despite her highly quantitative discipline, Sunmee is at heart very soft as well as genuine and as a result the students love her.

And last but not least we have global traveller, Dr. Stefan Groschl, an ESSEC faculty member specialized in Human Resources Management, educated in the UK, based in France but originally from Germany and now living in Panama! Stefan is Co-Chair of the ESSEC Leadership and Diversity Chair and Member of the Faculty of Management at ESSEC Business School. A graduate of Oxford Brookes University, Stefan has both worked in the hotel industry and taught in academic positions in England and Canada before joining ESSEC. He is a regular panelist and speaker at academic conferences and industry events all over the world as well as delivering courses at numerous academic institutions in Mexico, Taiwan, Spain, New Zealand, Germany and Bahrain – a truly international profile. Stefan is an excellent teacher and even though his subject – Human Resources – was not necessarily the one that students were initially the most excited about, he consistency manages to make it as one of the students’ favorite classes. Indeed, one of his classes “Managing Oneself and Leading Others” goes much further than just teaching basic human resources management. It enables students to work and reflect on their own personal growth. Stefan also succeeds in prove to students that Human Resources is at the center of success in most companies, but particularly in the people oriented hospitality sector. His rigor, as well as his proximity to students, are greatly appreciated, and his ability to help people understand that hospitality is above all a people business adds an important dimension to the IMHI experience.

Thus, from Ireland, to America, to South Korea and Germany, and many destinations in between, almost the entire globe is covered by the ESSEC faculty. To that we add the students, who typically come from nearly twenty different countries, the orientation which focuses on the global hotels sector and it all adds up to a truly international experience.  Such a variety of intertwined cultures presents students with a unique opportunity from which to adapt and learn, and in fact experience what most of us actually experience when we’re hired in different positions in global companies in different parts of the world. ESSEC’s Global MBA major in Hospitality Management – offering a truly international education to help prepare you for a truly international career!

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