The indescribable atmosphere of Les Roches speaks for itself. Powerful and unique, it has an effect on teachers and students alike. A real catalyst for excellence, it enables everyone to get the best out of themselves. Let Roberto Rodriguez, Career Services Manager & Clinical Professor in Sustainability, tell you all about this distinctive experience.
Can you share your background with us?
Graduated with a Bachelor’s in Tourism Management, a Master’s degree in Sustainability and Social Responsibility, and soon to be graduating with a PhD in Economics. I have 20 years of hotel experience, having worked in different countries such as the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Spain in different positions all related to Rooms Division, Sales and General Management.
I’ve been working for Les Roches Marbella since 2009; currently teaching Sustainability for graduate programs and also being responsible for the Career Services department.
What made you want to teach?
It was something really unexpected. I used to work as General Manager of an all-inclusive resort and I was invited to be a Guest Lecturer for the Master’s degree in Hotel Management. I discovered that teaching was very rewarding, as well as being very appreciated by students wanting to become managers in the hotel industry.
Why did you choose Les Roches rather than another hotel management school?
I would say that Les Roches chose me instead. I thought in the very beginning that it would be a transitional experience, but the Les Roches Way of Life is very much aligned with my personal values and my understanding of the hospitality industry.
How would you define Les Roches? What makes Les Roches unique?
The Les Roches Way of Life is the answer. How we understand hospitality makes us really unique. Learning by doing, putting into practice what we teach, and remaining humble regardless of experience, age or background.
“How we understand hospitality makes us really unique. Learning by doing, putting into practice what we teach, and remaining humble regardless of experience, age or background.”
Has the atmosphere of Les Roches influenced the way you prepare your courses?
Definitely. Academic curricula can be similar from one school to another. There are many great hospitality schools out there. But the Les Roches Way of Life can be experienced only at Les Roches and this can be identified through the different activities that a student is exposed to.
The teaching as well!
What is your definition of the transmission of knowledge?
Transmission of knowledge is beyond explaining certain content, theories or material. It is about how to engage students and how you reach each of them – especially important as we are an international school with more than 90 nationalities. We need to make sure that we reach and engage every Les Roches student. Passion is also key in that transmission of knowledge.
Beyond the technical aspect, what do you try to transmit to your students?
The passion for one of the most beautiful industries. Also one of the most rewarding.
Do you have a secret for getting the best out of each student?
I would say it is a combination of empathy and discipline together with constant communication.
“Transmission of knowledge is beyond explaining certain content, theories or material. It is about how to engage students and how you reach each of them.”
According to you, are there any fundamental values that a student should possess if he or she wants to work in hotel management?
Eagerness to learn. Humbleness. Passion for looking after people, for making the lives of others a bit better.
Be inclusive, be caring, be open. Will these notions, which are essential for the new generations, change the face of the hotel industry?
I would say that hospitality has been ALL that for many years now. We have been serving people, trying to exceed expectations regardless of the nationality, background, ethnicity, cultural background, or any other aspect of our guests. Now it is becoming essential in our societies and in other sectors which did not previously incorporate these values; but I think it’s always been the case of hospitality.
What can, and will, the new generations bring to the hotel sector? Or the world of work in general?
New generations are stronger in skills related to digital competences but also in understanding the needs of today’s guests. New generations serving new generations of guests!
In your opinion, what are the challenges facing the hotel sector in 2023?
The main challenge facing the hotel industry is the effort expected in allowing a better work/life balance to all employees. There are many companies incorporating this factor in their mindset, but many other companies need to adapt and incorporate the importance of wellbeing and work/life balance to engage and keep talent.
“Eagerness to learn. Humbleness. Passion for looking after people, for making the lives of others a bit better.”