All managers are expected to be competitive and professional. How do we acquire those skills? What are the secrets behind the hospitality experts that are also our teachers?
Those of you who take the marketing specialization of the BBA in International Hotel Management will need no introduction to Mr Di Donna, marketing lecturer at Les Roches. He speaks here to Marco Pellegrini.
When did you begin to teach at Les Roches, and what makes you remain here instead of going back to the “front line?”
I started at Les Roches in January 2010. Before Les Roches I was a visiting marketing lecturer at various international business schools, such as the European School of Economics. I was very interested in the hospitality industry and I think that Les Roches is the most interesting international school for this. Why did I remain here? Well, Les Roches is “tailored-made luxury education” in the hospitality industry, targeting a very special segment of international students, which are for me a daily motivation in delivering my passion for this sector.
As a faculty member what are your “tricks” to remain professional and at the same time flexible with the students’ needs?
If you want to teach marketing, the only secret is: updating, updating and updating. That’s the beauty of this field; it’s changing every day and you have to strive to stay up to date.
As a professor, I have to be multifaceted: a communicator, a PR expert, a psychologist and a social media optimization guru at the same time. My lessons are a mixture of academic content, case studies, class exercises, and presentations.
Furthermore, I also need to have empathy with the students. I try to create a relaxed atmosphere by making little jokes and motivate them to participate in open discussions that stimulate their curiosity and the critical thinking process in a multi-ethnical environment. Just think about your class, Marco. It is made up of 15 individuals, and only two of you are from the same country.
You need to be multitasking…offline and online.
What is the main thing that you want to deliver in your classes?
The passion for marketing and communication. When a manager or a consultant, like my case, becomes a professor, the main fear is to be boring. I try to give myself and not only the content in every lesson.
For me this is the most exciting job in the world!
As a professor, what do you take in consideration when evaluating a student project?
I put myself in the mind of a manager or an entrepreneur, and the first questions that I ask about a project are: is it useful for the company? Does it bring new ideas to our business? These are the main points of discussion with the students because many of them don’t know the real needs of the company’s marketing departments. By taking this approach, I am preparing the students for the “real” world.