In a friendly and enthusiastic way, Annick Darioly Carroz, Associate Professor & Head of Research at Les Roches, shares with us her experiences and reveals her secret recipe to help students fulfil their dreams.
Can you share your background with us?
I don’t like to talk about myself too much, but if I have to, I’d say I am a mother of two children, a 9 year old girl and a 7 year old boy. Born and raised in Valais, I am a Valaisan open to the world. I obtained my Master’s degree and then my PhD in Work and Organizational Psychology in 2011 at the University of Neuchâtel. I then went on to do a post-doctorate at the Kravis Leadership Institute in Los Angeles. Back in Switzerland, a chance morning email brought me to Les Roches. So it’s an academic background that links practice and theory.
What made you want to teach?
My passion for sharing knowledge and personal development. I like the contact with students. It allows me to enrich myself professionally and culturally. If I may tell you a little story, I only did my PhD for the human experience it gave me. As a doctoral assistant, I had the opportunity to supervise theses and dissertations, to guide work psychology students in seminars and practical work.
Why did you choose Les Roches rather than another hotel management school?
I’d rather say that it was Les Roches that chose me. I did an emergency replacement in 2013 and I have stayed since then. As a Valaisan, I have very strong ties with my canton and teaching in Les Roches gives me feelings that I wouldn’t find in other schools. To name just one, I have the impression of travelling daily with different cultures while remaining ‘at home’.
I try to make my students understand that the most important thing is to have a critical approach and to base their arguments on reliable and legitimate sources.
How would you define Les Roches? What makes Les Roches unique?
Les Roches is a big family. It is mutual respect between students and teachers; it is intercultural beauty in a canton known for its conservatism and tradition. Les Roches is the hotel tradition in constant evolution.
Has the atmosphere of Les Roches influenced the way you prepare your courses?
Of course! While Les Roches has a tradition to uphold, its programs are constantly evolving. For example, I am very attentive to existing developments in leadership, the subject I teach, and I update my courses at least twice a year. I also rely on feedback from the students who do not hesitate to tell me if there are any points that need to be addressed. Thanks to their comments I am constantly refining my courses and improving them.
What is your definition of the transmission of knowledge?
For me, the transmission of knowledge requires a scientific approach. I try to make my students understand that the most important thing is to have a critical approach and to base their arguments on reliable and legitimate sources.
Beyond the technical aspect, what do you try to transmit to your students?
As my courses focus on personal development and leadership, I concentrate on listening to oneself and to others. The transmission of skills is organized into three main areas: self-knowledge, knowledge of the team and knowledge of the context. I also insist on active listening, respect for the values of our school, hotel values, and benevolence.
In my leadership courses, self-awareness is crucial.
Do you have a secret for getting the best out of each student?
Having been a reserved student I was not the one to speak up; but by creating an environment of openness and caring, students naturally open up. In my opinion, it is essential to listen to every student and give everyone a voice. In my leadership courses, self-awareness is crucial.
In your opinion, are there any fundamental values that a student should possess if he or she wants to work in hotel management?
At the risk of sounding cliché, empathy, humility and agility are crucial values for all leaders; but even more so for leaders in the field of hospitality.
Be inclusive, be caring, be open. In your opinion, will these notions, which are essential for the new generations, change the face of the hotel industry?
The hospitality industry needs to be disruptive to attract new generations, so yes, I think these notions will change the industry for the better.
The new generations are therefore pushing us to find a new balance between work and wellbeing.
In your opinion, what can – and will – the new generations bring to the hotel sector? Or the world of work in general?
Whether it’s Gen Z or soon Alphas, these generations are bringing an adjustment of values to the hospitality industry. Respect for others, service orientation and human warmth are in the DNA of this sector. But it is true that generations X and Y may have sold their bodies and souls to this industry, forgetting their own wellbeing for that of their customers. The new generations are therefore pushing us to find a new balance between work and wellbeing.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing the hotel sector in 2023?
The lack of manpower is a huge challenge for the sector. These new generations are no longer prepared to work 15 hours a day. The sector must therefore question itself and find solutions to attract young people. The question is: what are they?