Internship at the Boston Consulting Group

Alexander ten Hoedt (BBA Hospitality 2016) is currently completing his 5th semester internship at the Boston Consulting Group in Zurich. This experience in an international consulting firm has allowed Alexander to go outside of the hospitality industry for a closer look at the medical technology sector, and it has given him some ideas for future career opportunities where hospitality and healthcare meet.

About Alexander:

Nationality: Dutch
Age: 22
Program: BBA in Hospitality Management
Applied Learning: Restaurant & Kitchen
Background before Glion:

  • International Baccalaureate Diploma at Haut-Lac International Bilingual School in Switzerland
  • 1 week Medtronic, Inc. Marketing department
  • 3 months F&B experience (1 Michelin star restaurant, breakfast, room service)

First Internship: Front Office Trainee, Hotel Pulitzer, Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Amsterdam, NL, 6 months
Current Internship (Semester 5): Trainee, The Boston Consulting Group, Zurich, CH, 6.5 months

Our questions for Alexander:

1.How has your experience been at Glion, so far?

I am convinced that I’ve made the right choice by following the hospitality management degree at Glion, mainly due to its broad program and excellent combination of practical experience with academics. From what I’ve seen, Glion hospitality management students develop a wide set of skills that are applicable both in the hospitality and consulting industry, as well as many other industries, if not all.

First and foremost, the academic and analytical capabilities that students develop and nurture at Glion are a big advantage, but the ability to interact with guests/clients in a professional way is critical and problem solving skills are part of the skill-set that Glion graduates master.

The power of this bachelor degree is that these skills are sought after by many companies on a global scale and the degree will open many interesting doors that you wouldn’t have thought existed.

In professional life a good balance between IQ (intellectual intelligence) and EQ (emotional intelligence) is required to successfully lead an organization. Both aspects are well taught at Glion.

2.Describe a typical work day and week on internship.

As a trainee at BCG, my typical day consists of working on the consulting projects or cases to which I am assigned to assist. Our work involves financial data checking, analysis and management, advanced analytics and visualization setup/design/maintenance. Obviously, around these activities we engage in many discussions among partners of the firm as to the interpretation of data in light of what is going on in the industry.

During my internship, I supported a global commercial leader in medical technology (medtech) benchmarking. Participating companies include 9 out of the 10 largest medtech players and over 80 businesses overall. They wanted to know, to what extent they had to been able to move the needle since the first benchmarking 3 years ago and what should be the thrust of business model innovation to win in the medium term. Duties include supporting interviews with senior executives, large database management, develop new data analytics tool and conduct deep data analysis.

The workload during a typical day is manageable, and long hours are definitely possible, but I have a strong interest in the case and the industry, which helps a lot. Throughout the week I also join case team meetings and process project updates to maintain the focus within

3.What do you do during your free time?

This internship is an intense experience, but there are many things to do in and around Zurich. Mostly on weekends I go and explore Zurich and just recover from the week. BCG organizes football trainings during the week with other consulting firms in Zurich, as well as rowing trips on Lake Zurich. BCG also organizes several larger events (office retreat, large sports tournaments and dinners) which are really cool to attend and meet like-minded people from across the company’s offices.

4.How is this experience strengthening your training and knowledge from the academic program?

It is not obvious for a hospitality management student to join the program I’m following at BCG, but it certainly has been an absolutely wonderful experience with many opportunities to grow, develop and gain insight in those industries and practice areas that interest me the most. In my case, I’ve been focusing on the medical technology industry to gain further insight and understand the business principles, innovations and trends that apply there.

I see a great future for hospitality students to develop careers in healthcare. The management of hospitals has a very large hospitality component.

In the end, the hotel function of a hospital is increasingly important in the competition among hospitals in the world. Besides this is the gap between wellness and medical care narrowing and patient experience becomes more and more important. There is developing clinical evidence that this last element is even having a profound impact on the recovery of patients.

It’s no surprise that from a historical perspective, hotel school graduates would most likely end up in the tourism and hospitality industry. Only in the past decade or so has this trend shifted and widened the career opportunities for hospitality students.

Consulting, banking and luxury brands are a few of those career paths that attract many graduates, and those industries seek different skills (i.e. leadership capabilities, customer service, open-minded individuals, out-of-the-box thinkers), which are often found in us hotel school graduates.

Although the courses that Glion offers don’t align perfectly with the tasks I do on a day-to-day basis, not like pure business and economics degrees, they have given me a basic understanding of business that spans across both the horizontal and vertical perspectives of any organization.

5.What benefits do you expect gain from this internship?

From my internship, I am gaining valuable insight into the healthcare and medical technology industry and I’m learning the strategies that work within it. In addition, I am working in a highly interesting and stimulating work environment with colleagues from varied backgrounds who share the same strong interest in business strategy, entrepreneurship and innovation.

These insights and experiences will shape me to be an even more open-minded, out of the box thinker, with a stronger set of analytical skills.

6.Do you believe this experience will impact your remaining studies or your career objectives?

This internship has affected my perspective on career opportunities and interests. During this internship, I’ve been exposed to a great number of interesting colleagues with fascinating backgrounds and life stories. It’s been inspiring to learn how people with such varied backgrounds and academic profiles end up in the same industry. The environment has reminded me of how Glion students work and interact together and how we learn to think with an international perspective and with the perspective of the people you work with.

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