Pit Stop #28: Glion Institute of Higher Education

sign of Glion

Glion Institute of Higher Education is just up the road (or up the mountain, to be exact) from Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne, our last post.  Last Saturday, we hiked up 1100 steps and by chance passed the doors to Glion. We were about five miles into our nine-mile jaunt, and if Glion’s doors had been open, we would have loved a wine tasting (and a rest) before heading back down to our hotel at lake level. Alas, there was no entry possible. But there were stunning views of Lake Geneva from the town of Glion, a small village in the municipality of Montreux with a population of about 500, and as we found out on Monday’s visit, the Institute boasts one breath-taking vista after another. 

Founded in 1962, Glion offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees to about 1,600 students specializing in hospitality and luxury management. Ranked among the top three hospitality universities in the world, Glion has over 4,000 industry partners and a graduate employment rate that would be the envy of any college president– well over 90%.  Its students hail from almost 100 different countries and are spread across three campuses. Two are in Switzerland (Glion with 135,000 square feet of facilities and Bulle with 180,000 square feet in a more rural location 35 minutes away) plus another small campus in London.

Like EHL, Glion is one of NECHE’s already fully accredited global institutions, and like EHL, about half of its alumni go on to work in hospitality and tourism… the other half in luxury goods, marketing, events, banking and finance. 

Glion is part of Sommet Education, which acquired the Institute (and our next school stop of Les Roches) in 2016. Sommet also owns the culinary and pastry schools of Ducasse Education, which offers bachelor’s degrees, courses for career changers and continuous professional training, and private classes for food enthusiasts across three campuses in France and in partnership with overseas universities. Obviously a company with a big appetite, Sommet has recently made further hospitality education acquisitions in South Africa and India.

deck and lake view

In addition to the almost too- beautiful- to- believe views down the mountain, one of the highlights of our visit was an interview with four of Glion’s students: Simone from Italy, Ting-Jia from China, Jude from Lebanon (who also served as student government president), and Raya from Jordon. Each was dressed to the nines, business formal being the dress requirement at Glion, and Simone’s suit was particularly stunning. But of course it was–he’s from Milan! We heard about the students’ various internships around the world, at the Ritz Carlton in Barcelona and the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong to name-drop a few, and all four were all sophisticated global citizens– articulate, personable, and confident — exactly who you’d want to represent your brand. 

NECHE President Larry Schall with representatives from Glion
Raya, Jude, Larry, Ting-Jia, and Simone.

Every Glion undergraduate student spends two six-month stints working in hospitality around the world. Among the new Masters’ programs the Institute created in 2019 is one with a focus on luxury, and that’s turned out to have drawn the most interest. Not only is Glion known for is preparing its graduates to work in luxury hospitality but also in high-end fashion and watches, cars and retail. To put a further sheen on the school, a two-star Michelin restaurant will soon call the Institute home, staffed of course by many Glion students.

water bottles
Even the water looks elegant at Glion.

We were able to have lunch at Fresh, one of the Institute’s other restaurants in town, with most of Glion’s senior staff (all women, by the way) including its Managing Director, Georgette Davey. We were graciously waited on by a group of incoming Glion students, and though this was their first day on the job, they were both a bit nervous and very proud.

Fresh restaurant interior.

You’ll appreciate my conversation with Managing Director Davey; she’s had an impressive career and is clearly a woman in charge.  

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