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Frédéric Picard, Glion Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland

Hailing from France, Picard’s career in the luxury hotel industry took him around the world to roles in Bangkok, Morocco, Dubai and Paris. He is now six months into his first role in the education sphere as managing director for luxury hospitality school Glion Institute of Higher Education across its three campuses in Glion, London and Bulle. The PIE caught up with Picard to find out his goals for the renowned institution which boasts 98 nationalities across its student body.


"Students have to support each other because your journey within the world, within your education and within your professional life will be up and down"

What do you like most about your job?

Diversity. The diversity of interacting with students from different parts of the world and interacting with the executive chef with a one-star Michelin restaurant, and interacting with the academy too.

What makes a Glion education unique?

The employability factor is huge. Every single student has five or six employment offers when they finish. Last week during the career days, some companies were able to send contracts to students.

If you could send one message to your students, what would it be?

You have to learn from each other. You have to learn from each other’s culture, mindset, gastronomy.

Also, you have to support each other because your journey within the world, within your education and within your professional life will be up and down. When you are on top, you need to support those who are down. When you are down, you’ll be supported by those who are on high tides.

This is something that they have to learn from the beginning when they arrive on campus at 18 or 19 years old. If you come to Switzerland from somewhere like Japan, Vietnam or South America, there is a slight culture shock. Therefore, in the institution, we have what we call the student pillars that are there to ensure that when the students arrive, they are taken care of.

What is your top priority in your new role?

To ensure the legacy of the institution.

What’s your favourite international cuisine or dish that you’ve discovered through your work?

I’ve worked in so many countries. It’s not so much the dish, but the place. I was in the middle of nowhere in Morocco and I was cooked Moroccan bread on hot stones, along with tagine. When I finished, I thought it was the best ever meal of my life because I was in the middle of nowhere and I was not expecting it. Memorable experience.

How do you see the future of hospitality education evolving?

Hospitality will move towards the fact that corporate social responsibility is becoming a top five priority for clients. How do you differentiate yourself? What kind of experience can you propose to the clients? It’s also very important to the students that they understand the purpose of what they do, the purpose of what a company does, what the the values of a company are.

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