AlumniFrom Hospitality to Healthcare

Hotel Institute Montreux Alumnus & Head of Switzerland’s leading international healthcare provider, Martin Schaefer sheds light on his journey.

One of the main reasons Martin chose to pursue a hospitality education was because of his desire of helping people and being around others. Yet rather than continue to explore this further within the hospitality industry, he chose an alternate path that led him into the Swiss healthcare sector.

Despite this choice, his current role requires him to act as a concierge of sorts, yet not to guests within a luxury hotel but rather to medical patients.

HIM Alumnus Martin 1

What motivated you to study Hospitality Management?

When the time came to choose my field of studies, I was certain that later in my professional life, I would not want to work in a technocratic environment.

After some research on different hotel schools, I decided on joining Hotel Institute Montreux and I have not regretted this decision at all. Being surrounded by so many peers from across the globe, all in a very productive and professional learning environment helped me a lot to not just develop professionally but also personally.

I have always enjoyed being around people and therefore I felt like the hospitality industry might offer me just that.

What skills do you think can be gained from studying a Hospitality degree?

Apart from all the business courses taken during my tenure in Montreux, I learnt so much about different cultures and habits. Sharing classrooms with students from all over the world helps you broaden your horizons in many ways. You also need to step up your time management game, especially during your BBA term, when deadlines and projects seem to be ramping up with no end in sight. Another benefit of studying hospitality management is that it helps you present yourself as a confident professional with good soft skills.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

As Head of International Medical Coordination for Genolier Patient Services, Switzerland’s leading international healthcare provider, no two days are alike. We manage requests from all over the world for people who seek medical treatments in one of our clinics. It is our job to ensure that each patient receives the best treatment, by matching their requests with the ideal specialist.

Genolier Patient Service address

Can you briefly describe a typical day at work?

For a portfolio of 8 clinics in all three linguistic regions of Switzerland, we act as a single point of contact for patients who are seeking treatments, the treating physicians, our clinic staff, potential international insurances, agencies, and other stakeholders (limousine services, hotels etc.). Our job is it to ensure that patient itineraries are properly organised and that all parties involved work smoothly together in order to deliver a one of a kind service to our clients.

My duties do not differ so much from those of a Concierge, whereas we are only focusing on health-related matters.

What are the challenges in working in your current position?

Unlike working in hotels, where seasons are rather predictable, patients do not request our medical services during a foreseeable time span. A relatively quiet week might be followed by days or weeks of non-stop requests with phones ringing and emails coming in by the minute. This unpredictability makes staffing challenging and requires for some juggling with room availabilities and doctor’s appointments. So far - knock on wood - we have been able to handle all requests and are determined to keep it that way.

Martin Schaefer

What do you hope to achieve in your career next?

Being part of a nationwide corporation, which is driving an expansion agenda, I hope to benefit from this growth and be able to get the chance to further develop within the company. I have recently started an executive MBA in order to underpin these ambitions. My time at HIM has surely come in helpful during the first two semesters of my postgraduate studies.

Career in China with hotel management degree

Martin Schaefer graduated from Hotel Institute Montreux in 2008 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management. He is Head of International Medical Coordination at Genolier Patient Services in Zurich:

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