Matthias Schmidt, between real life examples and creativity, the right balance

Respect, tolerance and open-mindedness: three adjectives that perfectly sum up our guest’s educational vision. With panache, Matthias Schmidt, Lecturer & Senior Service Instructor at Les Roches Crans Montana, shared his recipe for guiding his students to the top.

Can you share your background with us?

My name is Matthias Schmidt, Lecturer/Senior Service Instructor with a Swiss Federal Diploma of Higher Education in Restaurant Management (Bachelor’s degree) which I obtained in 2013. A hospitality professional with over 20 years of international experience within the hospitality industry and hospitality education. German nationality. I started my career as an apprentice in Germany and after three years I obtained a diploma of vocational education and training as specialist in restaurant service. Then I moved on to Switzerland, where I worked two summer and winter seasons in a five star hotel in the Berner alps. From there I moved to London, working for Anton Mosimann (the well-known Swiss chef) in his restaurant at The Ritz London and the Ledbury (1* Michelin restaurant).

In 2007 I moved to Hong Kong working for ZUMA, which nowadays is a very well-known Japanese contemporary cuisine dining concept. I returned to Switzerland in 2010, spending a summer season in Gstaad and a winter season in Crans-Montana (both five star hotels), and since April 2011, I can call myself part of the Les Roches family.

What made you want to teach?

Sharing my passion and knowledge as a hospitality professional to future leaders.

Why did you choose Les Roches rather than another hotel management school like Glion or EHL?

I never thought of working for other schools. When I had my interview and then started working here, I felt immediately welcome.

What made me want to teach? Sharing my passion and knowledge!

How would you define Les Roches? What makes Les Roches unique?

Les Roches is a “way of life”. It’s the community, being there for each other, helping and supporting. In addition to classroom instruction, we mentor, advise and engage in student campus activities.

Has the atmosphere of Les Roches influenced the way you prepare your courses?

We are an international community with students from all five continents and everyone perceives teaching differently. That’s why I try to present my subjects to our students in as diverse a way as possible.

What is your definition of the transmission of knowledge?

Giving real life examples when teaching a topic in class.

Beyond the technical aspect, what do you try to transmit to your students?

The hospitality industry is one of the fastest growing sectors, with great career opportunities. Les Roches offers you a great foundation for a successful career, but everyone is their own master when it comes to achieving these goals.

I try to present my subjects to our students in as diverse a way as possible.

Do you have a secret for getting the best out of each student?

Treat everyone with equal respect, be fair to everyone. Understand other cultures.

In your opinion, are there any fundamental values that a student should possess if he or she wants to work in hotel management?

Patience, empathy, good communication skills, problem solving, be open to feedback and showing initiative are values which are needed in hotel management.

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?

I believe that a lot of progress has already been made in recent years and is already having a positive effect in the hotel industry. Hotel chains in particular understand the new generation and offer everyone the same opportunities.

Treat everyone with equal respect, be fair to everyone. Understand other cultures.

In your opinion, what can and will the new generations bring to the hotel sector? On the world of work in general?

The openness to working with new technologies, which is becoming increasingly evident in the industry.

In your opinion, what are the challenges facing the hotel sector in 2023?

Due various reason the hotel sector facing challenges to find enough (experienced) staff. Competition amongst hotels could increase to hire the most talented people.