From the university directly to the hotel manager? Sascha Schwarze reports on how a dual degree course has helped him, how the study program is structured and what prospective students should pay attention to.Sascha Schwarze (28) has graduated from 2009 to 2013 at the Adam-Ries-Fachhochschule in Erfurt (now IUBH Dual Studies). He had previously worked as a cook in Austria and South Tyrol. He is the hotel manager at Flair Hotel Waldfrieden in the Thuringian Forest.
Mr. Schwarz, what exactly did you study and how long?
I studied tourism for seven semesters at the Adam Ries University of Applied Sciences in Erfurt - now called IUBH Duales Studium.
Why did you choose this course, which is paid for?
The practice partner, so the Company, which I worked on during my dual studies, took over all the costs.
The idea of running a house one day was tempting - the way to get there would have been much longer. In addition, I was able to collect sound knowledge about the management of a hotel with the dual studies.
Did you get a salary?
No, as a rule, there is no further remuneration for the students in tourism companies. I have already heard of a salary and even renting a car with regard to other study courses or study places - the range is very large here.
The course of study tourism industry was exactly adapted to my interests, so I decided to do so. The IUBH's study advisors help applicants find a suitable practice company for everyone and support the application process. This is also different at other universities. This allows you to find the company even before the start of the study, where you can also work after graduation.
What do you see as the advantage of a dual degree program compared to a "normal" degree program?
A classical study teaches theory above all, which of course is very important on the one hand. On the other hand, an early entry into work practice as well as dual study facilitates the start into the "full-time work cycle" enormously. This is not only reflected in the salary, it is also taken seriously by colleagues from the beginning - and the topic "internship for life" does not even come on.
What are the disadvantages of a dual course?
Particularly in the tourism sector, busy weekends and long shifting services must be planned. This can become a challenge especially in self-study. A good time management and a lot of self-discipline are therefore important in dual studies. My employer supported me so much, so we could solve all problems.
How is the course set up?
IUBH offers its dual study model at four locations: Bad Reichenhall, Erfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf. The dual bachelor degree programs are - in addition to the tourism industry, what I have studied - business administration specializing in accounting and controlling, real estate, industrial management, logistics management, tax consulting and auditing, health management, sustainable energy management and marketing management.
How is the study going?
The students alternate between study and practice for a period of seven semesters, which means that, in addition to the theory, they simultaneously gain professional experience in a company. I thought it was great that I could apply and deepen the previously acquired knowledge directly in the company. On a semi-annual basis, the students work together with the practice company to carry out a project work. In the course of the semester, you will be in the company for several weeks at a time, which is very helpful in getting to know your daily work and taking on responsibility. The lecturers also come largely from business and know the situation in the company.
The lectures take place in small study groups, which allows a much more intensive communication between university and students than at many state universities. The courses are very practice-oriented: based on the principle "from the general to the specific". At the IUBH, the "Blended Learning" principle is now also being used - unfortunately I have not yet noticed that here: classic classroom events are combined with eLearning components.
The fact that students are now able to book certain courses online is more flexible, but they are not alone. A tutor is available for questions, as well as the possibility to create online learning groups, or to discuss them in forums and learning-wikis. The aim is to prepare the students for professional and management positions in companies.
How well does the intertwining of study and practice work?
In the case of dual studies, three parties must work together well: the lecturer prepares the scientific basis as practically as possible, and the employer allows the students to implement what they have learned. The student must be motivated and connect both sides.
If it hangs in the cooperation, this can become problematic and possibly lead to the change of the employer. I myself also had to change the praxispartner. Since the IUBH has a large network and I already had practice experience, the change ran quite smoothly.
How did the job go up?
I was able to start as a hotel manager directly after my studies. I know from many other fellow students that they are also in good positions. But the fact that all of them had an employment contract after their graduation shows for me that the system of dual studies is successful.
How helpful was the study, for example, by making ties or the reference for the professional career?
Knowledge alone is not enough to successfully enter the professional life. Many events organized by the college were helpful in networking. But the best contacts are made during the practical phases.
The network of the IUBH in the various sectors helps students to find a good place to work while they are still studying, but also when starting a career. Most students receive a job offer from their practice company and remain there after the graduation, others get in somewhere else. Salaries are common in the industry.
What tips would you give to young people who want to make career in hotel management?
Hotel management is a very varied and multi-faceted cross-cutting discipline. A truly well-founded knowledge in all areas can not provide a single degree, so one should specialize in one area. The course provides the theoretical foundation; in the practical phase, students should try to get to know as many areas as possible in the hotel industry.
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