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Master’s students from London and Bulle campuses got a taste of the very best Barcelona has to offer during their joint business field trip to the Catalan capital.

When your learning environment consists of high-end hotels, exquisite restaurants and award-winning wineries, you cannot help but become immersed in the type of hospitality to which Glion students aspire. When that environment is somewhere as renowned for hospitality as Barcelona, the value of the experience is likely to be even higher.

Our field trippers line up.

Business field trips are an essential element of our Master’s programs as they give students the ideal opportunity to see what they’ve learned in the classroom being practiced in the real world. That’s why a group of Semester 1 Master’s in International Hospitality Business students from Bulle joined their Semester 1 and 2 counterparts from our London campus on a fact-finding mission to the Catalan capital at the end of January.

While there, they got to witness the pinnacle of hospitality, meet and network with accomplished hospitality professionals and experience what it feels like to be a guest as well as being exposed to the city’s numerous charms. Not only that, they got the rare opportunity to network with their fellow Master’s students from a different campus.

“During field trips such as this, students get to see the work of hospitality professionals first hand and, crucially, ask them questions, which enables them to find out how what they have learned in the classroom is implemented in a real-life setting,” says Academic Dean Dr Antonina Santalova.

The art of hospitality

Our students’ first taste of excellence was checking in at the five-star Hotel Arts, situated by the old Olympic village on Barcelona’s beach front, where they enjoyed a welcoming cocktail reception and dinner – just a preamble of the feast of high-end experiences to come.

Day one proper of the field trip began with breakfast presentations in the hotel’s exhibition space from Founder of Thinking Luxury Stanislas Helou, who is also a Glion Visiting Lecturer and alumnus, plus Area Managing Director Classic Luxury Europe at Marriott International, Rivero Delgado, and Hotel Arts’ Assistant Manager, Human Resources, Melania Rodríguez.

Following lunch at the Hotel Arts, they took a stroll to the five-star Barcelona EDITION, where they met the hotel’s General Manager, Brunella Zinato, Director of Sales and Marketing, Chema Ríos – also a Glion alumnus – and Learning and Development Manager, Alba Delgado. During this in-depth session, students gained valuable insights into the EDITION concept and its approach to customer satisfaction.

And in a fitting end to the day, our field trippers experienced the height of hospitality, enjoying drinks and snacks on the hotel’s exclusive rooftop terrace that boasts stunning views over the city.

Sports and leisure

Inside the magnificent FC Barcelona Museum.

The pinnacle of sports was on the agenda the following day, with our touring party taking a trip to the world-famous Camp Nou stadium, home of celebrated football giants FC Barcelona. Here, they were treated to an immersive tour of the team’s museum and had the opportunity to meet and put questions to the club’s sales, marketing and events coordination team.

Our students got some free time in the afternoon to experience some of the delights of the Mediterranean city – after half a day of learning activities.

“Most of us went to explore the local cafés and restaurants, the incredible Antoni Gaudí architecture and museums across Barcelona,” says Bulle student Anna Kuptsova. “And for some of us, there was even time to fit in some shopping in the city’s numerous boutiques.”

Fine wining and dining

An enthralling presentation at Llopart winery.

On their final full day in Barcelona, the Master’s students took a bus ride out to the west of the city for a tour of the Llopart winery. In this stunning location, they got to visit the eye-catching mountain vineyards on the estate, learn about the making of Cava and hear from Director of Marketing, Cristina Soler, about the winery’s approach to attracting and engaging customers and providing the best service. Thankfully, it wasn’t all work, as the students also got the opportunity to sample the many different varieties produced by Llopart.

More free time followed this visit when the students returned to the city, before the trip concluded with an elegant gala dinner back at the Hotel Arts.

Stanislas Helou.

“It’s a beautiful end-to-end experience for the students, as they get to see absolutely everything – from the front of house and back of house operations to literally being the guests themselves,” says Stanislas Helou. “You have to be able to experience it all, from the inside out, to be able to then provide that level of service to the guests, customers or clients you will serve in future. That’s what they get on trips such as this.”

The experience was clearly highly valued by our cohort of Master’s students. For Stephane Peguy Um Mayo, the highlight of his field trip was the access he got to senior management at top brands by being a Glion student.

“This was the power of the Glion name in action,” he says. “When you are studying at Glion, you get the opportunity to connect with people who are otherwise incredibly difficult to reach. When I told my friends who I’d met, they said ‘wow!’”

Photo credit

Main image: Alexander Spatari/Getty

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