The 30th Edition of IRF: A Gateway to Top Global Hotels


The 30th Edition of IRF: A Gateway to Top Global Hotels

The best hotels search for talent from the best hospitality schools.

By Swiss Education Group

3 minutes
Students at the 30th IRF


The International Recruitment Forum (IRF) of Swiss Education Group (SEG) is a biannual event that has been connecting students from SEG schools with recruiters from a wide range of industries since its inception in 2008. This exclusive career event provides a unique opportunity for students to interact with recruiting partners from various sectors, including the hospitality industry, luxury retail, banking, airlines, and cruise lines. This IRF saw about one hundred prestigious properties and companies actively seeking talent.

Forbes' Top 50 Hotels at the 30th edition of the IRF

The October 2023 IRF was particularly exceptional. Not only was it the 30th edition of this renowned recruitment forum, several participating properties this year had recently been featured in Forbes Magazine's "50 Best Hotels" ranking.

This was not the first time these properties participated in the IRF. In fact, many SEG students and staff have worked at these properties over the years. SEG views their regular participation in the IRF as a testament to the quality of our students. If you are going to be a top-ranking property, you need to hire top-quality employees.

Ten of our participating properties were among the Forbes' prestigious  "50 Best Hotels" and we congratulate the following partners: 

  • #4 Swire Hotels: Upper House Hong Kong
  • #3 Four Seasons Bangkok at Chao Phraya River
  • #9 Four Seasons Firenze / Florence
  • #10 Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
  • #24 Four Seasons Madrid
  • #31 La Reserve Paris - Michel Rebier group
  • #34 Cheval Blanc Paris
  • #35 Four Seasons Athens
  • #44 Atlantis Dubai
  • #49 Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas – Ibiza


Understanding the Significance of the IRF

To appreciate the impact of the IRF, it's crucial to hear from the recruiters themselves. Representatives from these top hotels shared their experiences and insights into what makes the IRF a pivotal event for their recruitment efforts.

#4 Swire Group - Upper House Hong Kong

Ester and Cynthia, representing Swire Group, emphasized their interest in employing international interns and graduates to bring fresh ideas to their workplace. The students at the IRF are known for their international and diverse backgrounds, aligning perfectly with Swire Group's slogan, "We think differently." SEG students possess a diverse range of skills, which can be observed in their strong representation in culinary, business, and administrative departments. Swire Group also highly values a "fun gene" in their employees, and this matches the friendly, welcoming atmosphere created by SEG students. Their unique approach to hospitality makes them an appealing choice for Swire Group.

#31  Michel Rebier Group - La Reserve Paris

Cindy, the HR manager for Grand Hotel Victoria Jungfrau and Spa in Interlaken, representing the Michel Rebier Group, shared valuable expertise. The Michel Rebier Group has 18 properties across Switzerland, France, and the UK. Their approach is to open hotels gradually, ensuring each one is perfectly equipped and smoothly operating before opening a new one. SEG's IRF consistently provides them with well-equipped candidates who bring professionalism to the group. She sees these students as a precious asset, contributing to the group's year-round employment needs for quality employees in various departments.

#34 Cheval Blanc – Paris

Julie, a representative from Cheval Blanc Paris, acknowledged that the international diversity of SEG students was a big draw. She said that while EHL, another hospitality education company, is primarily comprised of French students, the IRF held by SEG showcases a truly global mix of candidates. Cheval Blanc plans to expand in the Seychelles and is actively looking for international profiles. They found great potential in the well-versed culinary candidates of the morning session and the more business-focused students of the afternoon session, which is a testament to the IRF's ability to cater to their specific needs. Julie also highlighted the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, which created a shortage of employees and an increase in tourism due to the resulting work-life balance change in preferences. Therefore, the IRF is a valuable resource for finding talent for Cheval Blanc.

#44 Atlantis Dubai

Owen, responsible for marketing, sales, and revenue management at Atlantis Dubai, highlighted the diverse talents that students at the IRF bring to the table. He shared that their organization is currently looking for bright graduates who have some operational and F&B experience but who are primarily interested in the finance side of the business. He admitted that an average business graduate may have the finance skills but usually does not possess the hospitality industry experience that adds valuable depth to their understanding of the business. "We struggle to find people with data analysis or revenue management skills, plus actual hospitality experience. Our department heads and vice presidents prefer looking at hospitality schools for employees in all regards, even finance and business. This is why our executives are keen to come to the IRF. There are students here who have all the qualities we are looking for."

#49 Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas – Ibiza

Eva, a representative from Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas in Ibiza, praised SEG students for their commitment to the industry and broad education in all aspects of the business. She highlighted the versatility of culinary students, who are well-versed in the kitchen and restaurant business, including service etiquette. However, she emphasized that all SEG students exhibit genuine care for hospitality and possess a well-rounded education in all departments, making them suitable for employment in various countries and at all of their properties. Eva noted that the students' dedication to emotional hospitality aligns well with their brand's principles.

The Popularity of Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons

The list of the above opinions would not be complete without mentioning Mandarin Oriental and Four Seasons, who have very popular booths at the IRF. Every year, these two renowned luxury hotel brands draw an extensive and unwavering line of enthusiastic students eager to engage with their representatives. While we were not able to get a statement from a representative from them for this publication, we are honored to work with such prestigious properties who welcome students from our schools as interns and employees, and we are proud of what we have accomplished together. Notably, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts have four properties listed in the Forbes 50 Best Hotels in the World rankings.

Representatives from Atlantis Dubai at the International Recruitment Forum
Representatives from Atlantis Dubai at the International Recruitment Forum

The Role of SEG in Shaping Tomorrow's Hospitality Leaders

The insights from recruiters representing these prestigious hotels shed light on the unique qualities of SEG students that make them highly sought-after in the hospitality industry. SEG's four schools, each with their own focus, all put emphasis on providing students with a comprehensive education in all facets of the industry, from culinary arts to finance and management; SEG schools equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in a wide range of roles. The international focus of SEG also aligns perfectly with the global nature of the hospitality industry, where employees often interact with guests from diverse backgrounds.

The impact of COVID-19 on the industry has been significant, changing the dynamics of the workforce and the demand of tourists. Recruiters are looking for employees who are adaptable, well-rounded, and capable of providing excellent service even in challenging circumstances. SEG students, with their diverse skill sets and international outlook, are well-suited to meet these demands.

The Path of Hospitality Careers

The hospitality industry is dynamic and offers a multitude of career opportunities for graduates. While the traditional path often involves starting in operational roles and gradually moving into management, the experiences shared by recruiters demonstrate that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a hospitality career. SEG students have the flexibility to evolve and explore different aspects of the industry beyond operational, such as finance, marketing, data analysis, and perhaps even branching out into other sectors beyond hospitality.

The IRF serves as a bridge between students seeking opportunities in the hospitality industry and top global hotels. The presence of hotels listed in Forbes' 50 Best rankings of 2023 at the IRF is a testament to the event's significance in the industry. Recruiters from these prestigious properties recognize the unique qualities of SEG students, from their international diversity to their adaptability and commitment to excellence. The insights shared by these recruiters highlight the pivotal role of SEG in shaping the future leaders of the hospitality industry. As the industry continues to evolve, SEG students are well-equipped to meet changing demands and excel in various roles, making the IRF a valuable platform for both students and top-tier hotel properties.

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By Swiss Education Group