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Best Hospitality school in the world: Why rankings matter to EHL

Morgane Bedu
Written by

For the fourth consecutive year, EHL Hospitality Business School maintains its world’s number one position in Hospitality & Leisure Management, and number five in Business & Management Studies in Switzerland (QS World University Rankings by Subject). Want to know how EHL achieved its status as the best hospitality school in the world? Read on...

Each year, our institution follows the rigorous processes that ranking organizations dictate. While there is a plethora of rankings and websites compiling “the best schools in….”, it may feel confusing to see that your preferred school is at the top in one ranking and in a completely different position in another one. How to make sense of all the different rankings? What indicators should you look for? Are rankings the sole decision-making factor when it comes to education? These questions are all valid and we hope to shed a light on them.


How to make sense of the different rankings

There are several organizations that provide annual rankings of international hospitality and tourism degree programs. Each organization uses a slightly different methodology to determine their rankings based on what they believe contributes to quality education in hospitality.

While some rankings use a wide range of qualitative and quantitative metrics, others emphasize research and gather readily available information. A ranking like QS World University Rankings by Subject seeks external validation from worldwide academics and recruiters to showcase an indicator of crucial importance: reputation.

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Hospitality Education - The importance of QS world University Rankings by Subject

The reason why this ranking is important is because it focuses on narrow specialties rather than broad disciplines. QS uses the same four metrics for all the 50+ subjects it ranks: Academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and H-Index

The academic and employer reputation are indicators elaborated thanks to QS’s annual survey which brings together 130’000 world-academics and 75’000 recruiters to nominate the best schools across all disciplines. To date, this survey is the largest and the most international of its kind.

QS is the only organization to assess the number of research papers authored by department faculty members that have been cited in other publications for the specific discipline. The fourth metric, the H-Index, measures the productivity and impact of faculty members within the industry based on academic citations.

To establish its final scores and ranking positions, QS’s weight allocations vary according to the narrow discipline – for example:




This difference allows to capture a university’s subject specialty, in which research can play a bigger part in a field such as Medicine or Nursing, whereas in Hospitality, a university’s academic credibility as well as employability outcomes and reputation of its students and graduates, are key determinants for a top position.

With a score of 100 points in both Academic and Employer reputation EHL is proud and thankful to be world’s number one amongst the 2182 institutions ranked in the subject category Hospitality & Leisure Management.


The importance of reputation in academic rankings

Reputation is the intangible asset of a university’s balance sheet. You may have heard about Warren Buffet’s stance on reputation:

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently” 

His statement summarizes what EHL works towards repeatedly to stay relevant and to remain number 1 worldwide: educating differently to shape the future leaders of hospitality and businesses. Our reputation is built on the quality of our academic programs and accreditation, the success of our students, faculty and graduates, our commitment to research and innovation, and our close ties to industry leaders and companies.

“To be number 1, you must train like you are number 2” - Maurice Greene

Athlete & five-time world champion (track and field sprinter)

But what does it entail to be the best university in hospitality management?

Our ranking position brings a virtuous circle. For over 129 years, EHL has ventured into new territories and pioneered the evolution of hospitality education and leadership:

  • The world’s first hospitality school to open its doors in 1893.
  • Launched the concept of student internships in 1959 to support the industry.
  • Opened the restaurant le “Berceau des Sens”, which is the only training restaurant in the world to hold a Michelin star for 3 consecutive years.
  • Founded the Innovation Village, world’s first university food & hospitality innovation ecosystem.
  • From “Dress code” to “Dress for”, EHL is the first hospitality school to dust off its historical dress code and introduce the “Guide for professional appearance”, which is now inclusive of cultural and religious diversity, while complying with industry requirements.

Being ranked at the top drives us to innovate and invest in the development of our courses and our campuses internationally, which ultimately benefits our communities - hence our reputation. For us, reputation is the dividend EHL can reinvest into its operations.

At EHL, we believe we have a responsibility to our students, our alumni, our academic and industry partners to provide a fertile ground to develop tomorrow’s industry leaders. It’s a relationship of trust that EHL will do the right thing for its community and constantly question its education business model to shape the future of hospitality with ingenious ideas.

From teaching housekeeping courses with virtual reality simulation games, enhancing soft skills through internships and real-life consultant business projects, to embedding sustainability, entrepreneurship, and innovation in our students’ journey - we place our values of excellence, family, learning, respect, and innovation the heart of what we do.

Our reputation has allowed us to expand internationally with our new campus in Singapore which serves as an education hub in Asia Pacific. In the upcoming months, we will unveil our new campus in Lausanne, designed by students – for students. This campus, taking shape as a university village, aims to support a healthy lifestyle and connect our students, staff, faculty and industry partners through state-of-the-art facilities.

The future of EHL and its reputation is guided by one principle: our WHY – it’s our compass, the reason why our EHL family wakes-up every morning.

All organizations start with WHY, but only the great ones keep their WHY clear year after year - Simon Sinek

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Our purpose is to augment the level of excellence in our students and the industry by enriching traditional hospitality education and business models with the values of tomorrow.

So, are top ranking positions the sole driver of EHL’s education model? Of course not! Rankings are shaped behind the scenes. We think of it as the result of our purposeful mission and vision, not as the overarching goal. Being the best hospitality school in the world is a direct translation of the work our staff and faculty members engage in every day to provide the best human-centric education to our students.



Written by

Awards & Ranking Coordinator at EHL.

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