Alumnus Patric Farah credits César Ritz Colleges Switzerland for setting his career on a whole different trajectory.
What drew you to hospitality?
Funny enough, I did computer science during the first year of my Bachelor’s degree as I was interested in computers. I had excellent grades but would spend my days in front of a screen instead of interacting with people. After a year, I realised I didn’t see myself living a life like this.
I switched to hotel management because I love and want to be around people. I have always wanted to understand how people operate and hospitality has provided numerous insights into the human nature. Plus, I truly enjoy helping and serving others, so in the end, it was the right choice.
The CRCS diploma changed my life, it really did. Graduating from one of the best hospitality schools in the world opens up possibilities that other people simply don’t have. The reaction you get from recruiters when they see your degree is unbelievable.
How did the César Ritz Colleges Switzerland degree affect your career?
Right after graduation I was trying to find a job in Dubai which was hard as I had almost no experience apart from internships. However, once I started applying, I would get callbacks with the same feedback from recruiters, over and over: “Oh, you’ve got a Master’s degree from César Ritz Colleges Switzerland, that is impressive!
You’ve called your time in Switzerland “transformational”. What made it so?
Being exposed to this education, the whole experience, changes you as a person. You understand yourself better, figure out what you want, what can happen in your career.
You understand that life has so much more to offer than that little bubble you have lived in before coming to Switzerland. Plus, you learn to come up with solutions to issues, work in teams, interact with different nationalities and make friends.
What are the highlights of your experience at CRCS?
We had an incredible group of international instructors who shared their vast experience with us. I particularly remember the fine dining service course.
During this course I had a chance to be a head chef for a themed event, which involved creating a budget from A to Z, preparing the menu. On the night of the event, I found myself completely alone in the kitchen cooking dishes for 40 guests, rushing and stressed, but at the same time really enjoying it. The event was a huge success.
What struck me that night is the feeling that I can do much more than I think I can.
Another fond memory is doing a case study on a local business in Brig. My group chose a local pub that wasn’t doing very well. We had to speak to the owner to get the details about his issues and understand the pub operations. We then prepared a SWOT analysis and gave recommendations for improvement. Getting the insights into the workings of a real business was very interesting and we appreciated the chance to make a difference.
Tell us about your current job
I am an academic manager at a college in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in charge of all programmes: business, guest relations and events management, building and construction. I also teach.
Our mission is to get the young Saudi students ready for the workplace with the knowledge and skills they need to start working straight after they graduate. We’ve got more than 1300 students, so it’s quite an operation!
I enjoy both parts of my job but I absolutely love teaching, I was born for this! It makes me happy to help others grow.
What’s your advice for someone thinking of studying hospitality?
If you don’t like it, don’t do it! Don’t force yourself into a profession you don’t enjoy. But if it’s something you find yourself naturally talented at – go for it! In the end, you’ll be a lot happier.
Get as much practical experience as you can learning from the best. Grow through that. Discover and develop your strengths and don’t waste time focusing on your weaknesses.
Ask questions, get a mentor, constantly learn and grow. Serve everyone, be humble and you’ll become number one.