U.S. citizen, Diogo Dutcher, is one of Les Roches’ mature students. He says that it took him 6 years to find his call and offers excellent advice at the end of this article for anyone also thinking about starting their bachelor studies later than most other people.
This past Sunday I celebrated my 25th birthday. While most people my age are already in the workforce or working on their master’s degrees, I just started my first semester on the BBA program at Les Roches.
But I am far from embarrassed about this.
In fact, this is the happiest and excited I’ve ever been about my studies since graduating high school in 2009. It took me 6 years to realize I wanted to learn more about the hospitality industry!
This just goes to show that it’s never too late to study what you are passionate about, whether it is hospitality, medicine, law, etc. I was two years into studying industrial engineering before I realized my heart wasn’t in it. Over the years I held several jobs, including working at a veterinary clinic, as an office assistant, and as a television producer. However, before each of these jobs, I worked as a server in restaurants. While I enjoyed and learned a lot from every one of those opportunities, I liked working in restaurants the best.
The best part about working at a restaurant was working with a team tackling a new challenge every day. There were always new dishes and drinks you had to learn to sell, as well as new customers and new staff members you had to learn how to work with. For me, getting through a tough dinner shift with my co-workers was the most rewarding feeling. But I wanted to be involved in more areas of hospitality, and also was seeking an international career, not just one I could do in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia in the United States.
I heard about Les Roches through a family friend. After researching the school and talking with alumni and advisors, I knew I had to apply. A couple of months later I received my acceptance in the mail, and began preparing my move to Switzerland. Although I was giving up an exciting opportunity in television and saying goodbye to my friends, I couldn’t have been more excited about starting to actually study hospitality.
Les Roches is giving me the opportunity to learn more about the great world of hospitality. Being older than most of my classmates has its advantages. My experience working in restaurants has helped me in both my practical and academic classes. However, it is important for those with experience to also come into these classes with an open mind. After my first rotation of practical classes there were several new concepts I learned that I had never known of before. The teachers give no special consideration; they expect you to perform at your best whether you’ve already worked in the industry or not, whether you are older than your colleagues or not.
Although Bluche is quite removed from cosmopolitan areas like Geneva and Zurich, the number of different nationalities represented in the student body is so vast, you’ll soon forget you’re in a mountain village. Hospitality is a global trade, and Les Roches has the perfect community in which to learn more about it. In only 3 months I’ve improved my French and German language skills dramatically.
My advice to those interested in a different field of study than the one they are currently pursuing is simple: be patient and do your research.
Here my top 3 tips:
1. What interests you? What type of experience do you need? Talk to family or friends who may have similar careers and ask about their journey.
2. Work part-time or even full-time at something different. Don’t be afraid to make a big change in your life, as long as your heart is in it.
3. Most importantly, don’t ever tell yourself it’s too late to change. I will turn 28 before I graduate, but I’ll be happy knowing that I’m well-prepared to work the rest of my life in an industry I’m truly passionate about.