Joint Bachelor’s Degree Creates Path to International Food and Beverage Career

By Sue McMurray

As the daughter of a business owner and an accountant, Mathilde Lang could have easily been influenced to find a similar career path. But at 15, while working a summer job in a restaurant, she realized her professional calling lay in hospitality.

“I really liked the contact with the clients and providing service. I developed a passion for it before I finished high school,” says Lang.

Lang hails from Poissy, a small city near Paris, France, where some of the world’s finest cuisine and wine can be found. After graduating high school, she attended École Notre Dame Les Oiseaux, a private Catholic school in Verneuil sur Seine, for her baccalaureate. While there, she began researching Swiss Education Group (SEG) schools for the next leg of her professional education. SEG is the largest private educator in Switzerland and operates four of the world’s top hospitality schools, including César Ritz Colleges Switzerland.

César Ritz Colleges/WSU joint hospitality degree provides unique perspective

Lang visited several schools and decided upon César Ritz Colleges. The school has offered a joint bachelor’s degree program with the WSU Carson College of Business since 2012. In three years, students may simultaneously earn a bachelor of international business in hotel and tourism management from César Ritz Colleges and a bachelor of hospitality business management from WSU.

“Everything in the program relates to real world business,” says Lang. “The American teachers bring a different perspective and practical advice—something we need for the workforce. Having an American hospitality degree is a definite career advantage.”

When the pandemic hit, she found online classes challenging. “Professor Dipra Jha made communication easier during this time,” she says. “But I really preferred in-person classes.”

Internships are the stepping stone to Lang’s future food and beverage career

Lang persevered through the time of remote learning by maintaining a positive outlook. She says business law classes, diverse hospitality industry guest speakers, networking, and innovative teaching approaches were among the most valuable aspects of her experience.

But a six-month food and beverage internship at the Royal Plaza Montreux topped the list.

“The internship absolutely confirmed I want a career in food and beverage,” she says. In addition to food and beverage training, she completed several rotations in hotel management at the Royal Plaza that will prepare her for her next step.

After she graduates on September 16, she will complete an internship at the Mark Hotel in New York. She’ll train in food and beverage management and operations for a year.

And then? Lang says she’d love to go to Costa Rica for work—where she finds the friendly people, safe environment, and being close to nature make her feel at home. “Someday I’d like to be a general manager of a food and beverage business and later open my own restaurant there,” she says. “You can learn so much from international culture.”