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EHL's alumnus going places

SINGAPOREAN Melissa Lou is a proud alumnus of Switzerland's famed EHL. She is co-founder of a company called Delegate, which is a startup tech platform. Having joined EHL in 2007, she graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Science in international hospitality management.

"The great thing about EHL is the balance of practical training and business management applicable to the hospitality industry. I'm currently an entrepreneur building a tech platform focused on event planning. In my role especially when it comes to managing my team and planning events, I'm required to be organised, flexible and also to have a customer- centric approach at all times," she says.

"The rigorous training that EHL provided really equipped me with the right people and organisational management skills that helped me throughout my entrepreneurship journey. The skills we gained at EHL are transferable across industries and that gives us a wide range of career options. Many of my classmates are no longer in the traditional hospitality industries such as hotels, F&B, airlines etc, but are now working in banks, FMCGs, luxury retail, healthcare, real estate, etc."

Ms Lou says that EHL is a combination of vocational programme and tertiary education, with only the first year out of the four-year bachelor programme being practical operational training, and the next three years being business management classes. "The classes are relatively smaller in size but it's great because we are a tight knit community of students, alumni and faculty. The EHL network has also helped me tremendously in my entrepreneurship journey so far."

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On what she learnt at EHL, she says: "In life one of the most important things we need to learn is to manage people and their expectations. This is applicable to me as an entrepreneur and to every career or relationship - it is definitely a life skill. I regard EHL's practical training to be one of the best lessons for me - to teach me to manage people, their expectations, to have organisational skills and also to communicate effectively with my peers and colleagues.

"Additionally, having the first six months of practical training on campus followed by a six-month operational internship really allowed me to understand the fundamentals of the hotel industry, which allowed the knowledge gained in the next three years of academic study to be relevant and applicable."

Ms Lou says of her company Delegate: "It connects anyone planning an event to event vendors ranging from venue spaces, to caterers and everything you need under the sun to plan a successful event. Upon graduating from EHL, I spent a few years working in a luxury lifestyle company which led me to identify a valid gap in the events industry. That is when I started my entrepreneur journey building a tech platform to make the events industry more transparent.

"I wish I could go back to EHL because honestly, it was one of the best times of my life. I've run my startup now for almost three years and I can't imagine not continuing with it. There are just too many gaps in the events industry to fix and I'm really excited about the journey ahead," she adds.