‘The best decision of my life.’ Something of a love letter here to Shannon College of Hotel Management, from Indian student Ashish Sharma. Ashish, who wrote this piece before the Covid19 pandemic hit, cannot find enough wonderful things to say about his time studying at Shannon for an International Master’s degree, ahead of returning to work in the hospitality industry he loves so much.
Ever since I started working, I had an inclination to study for an International Master’s degree. All my research led me to choose Ireland as an ideal country, for three main reasons. Firstly, Shannon College of Hotel Management has a great reputation in the hospitality industry and is one of the premier institutes in Europe. Secondly, I would have better job opportunities. And finally, an important aspect was that the language is not a barrier, unlike other European countries.
A country that offers extraordinary experiences
Ireland is known for its greenery, landscape, castles, traditional music and pub culture. It is also very famous for its local beers, cider, gin and whiskey. Of course, the top drinks are Guinness (one of the most famous stouts in the world) and Jameson Whiskey, which is in every bar and pub in the country. But what excited me more was the music and performances on the streets and in the pubs. My experiences in Ireland, from the Cliffs of Moher to The Book of Kells, from Dingle Peninsula to Guinness Storehouse, from Temple Bar to Killarney National Park, has been extraordinary. As a country, it offers a very peaceful experience, especially the countryside, which has a serenity and calmness, tinged with local flavours, that make it a perfect place to visit and explore the culture to the full.
Shannon College: an easy choice
As a working professional, it can often be a daunting experience when searching for an institute in a foreign country to study a specific course. For me, though, it was an easy choice. Shannon College of Hotel Management, established in 1951, started as a catering and training unit for airport fine dining restaurants which catered for all the VIPs coming across the Atlantic to Europe, and for the development of tourism in Ireland. Recently, in 2015, it got incorporated into the National University of Ireland, which is among the top 1% of the world’s best universities, giving the degree a higher reach and value.
Rigorous but practical course offers great learning
The college is a brand in itself, with great industry links and alumni connections. Also, the course that I am studying is extremely diverse yet structured and has business elements (HR, Marketing and Strategy) along with Hospitality and Revenue Management. It is a rigorous course designed for industry leaders with a lot of guest lectures and practical exercises. Unlike other courses, MSc Business and Hospitality doesn’t have exams. The course involves continuous assessment of students in the form of assignments. I like the idea of continuous assessment wherein we are not just learning new concepts every day but practically implementing them simultaneously. I have come to realize that the knowledge I gain and retain with this kind of learning is several times higher than what I would gain via traditional methods.
Industry input sets it apart
Another aspect of the curriculum which sets it apart is the early adoption of inputs from industry experts when deciding what goes into the course. This kind of collaboration among academic institution and international companies ensures holistic growth of both the industry and educational institutions. Students are not just prepared to face the challenges of today’s world but also equipped with the tools to take on the future. All this at a very affordable price when compared to other colleges in Europe.
The location of the college is quite unique, right opposite Shannon International Airport, giving the college an edge over other institutes and great connectivity for companies looking to recruit. The college is in close proximity to multinational companies (like Jaguar Land Rover, EI Electronics, Element 6, EMC, Extreme Networks, GE Sensing, Genworth, Ingersoll Rand, Intel, John Crane Ltd., Molex etc.), all situated along the Shannon Free Zone.
Stellar employment rates for graduates
The college places a lot of emphasis on personal grooming and on placements, which has resulted in it securing 100% graduate employment since 1951. The MSc in Business and Hospitality is a new degree course started in 2018, making it an important course for all the lecturers. They have kept the class size small in order to focus individually. Like the saying goes “You are a name, not a number in Shannon College of Hotel Management”.
Best decision of my life
After completing six months in Ireland, all I can say is this place has so much to offer. Hospitality industry is growing rapidly, and a lot of international hotel chains are coming into the market. It would be an ideal time to invest in your studies and move here. For me, I think this has proved to be the best decision of my life to come out of my comfort zone and invest in my studies.
If there are any questions or queries, please feel free to connect with me through my YouTube Channel, Discover With Ashish, or my Instagram Page: @discoverwithashish