Sarthak Sharma was able to gain an internship in Hong Kong through his experience in the cloud kitchen. He got an opportunity to work in finance for Black Sheep Restaurants. He found going to Hong Kong as one of the best decisions so far in his life. For the restaurant group, he was working in the finance department. He was able to dig deep into the world of food and beverage. As part of his job, he would also work in different restaurants for the same group during the weekends. Moreover, he was also able to learn the art of storytelling and taking care of the guests. He was also able to make some great connections and grew his network as the icing on the cake.
This is the life of Sarthak Sharma who is a final-year student at Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) Hospitality Business and Hotel Management School located in Switzerland. He is currently working on growing his recent start-up besides pursuing higher education. This helps in improving student life by connecting the students with tutors who are experienced within their school. Also, tutoring is organized at lower prices.
The reason behind choosing Switzerland as the study destination
He was always keen on exploring the world and learning about new cultures. In the interim, his interest in the study changed to hospitality/ business management from engineering. He was raised in New Delhi. He comes from a family where only a few have travelled abroad. Therefore, he had always dreamt to be the one to change that.
He received good grades in Class 12. He was from the non-medical stream. Therefore, he received multiple scholarships and university offer letters. However, in the initial stages, he decided to study engineering. Above all, he could not see himself pursuing the stream for the rest of his life. He wanted an industry that would help him gain exposure to the rest of the world. He also wanted the industry to help him learn different lessons offered by different cultures.
Therefore, in the interim, he switched to hospitality. He decided that he wanted to pursue a role that can not be replaced with technology easily as in today’s world, technology is taking over human jobs. Therefore, he found entrepreneurship/ leadership with well-developed soft skills as the right option. He also believes his school has not really contributed to helping him study at a foreign university apart from gaining mathematical and language skills.
Grabbing the exposure at Switzerland – EHL Hospitality Business School
He decided to come to Switzerland in order to grab the wide range of exposure that an international university can provide. Therefore, he ended up at EHL Hospitality Business School. This school has students from more than 125 nationalities. He had always thought that settling in would be a difficult process. However, he did not find the difficulty in his case. He adapted to the new cultures very quickly. Also, before starting the university, the introductory week organised by EHL helped him get information. He was also able to meet other students.
He still had to adapt to the new environment apart from that. For instance, on weekdays, most supermarkets close by 7 pm. Moreover, they are closed on Sundays. Here, the country has a safe and punctual public transport system. Also, for non-European passport holders, sorting out the accommodation may be tricky. However, through Facebook groups and other reliable agencies, the process was made easier.
Before coming to Switzerland, he studied in New Delhi, India at Mothers Global School. Academic performance is not the only priority for students in Switzerland and this was one of the major differences he had noticed in his life. He was surrounded by people from all over the world at EHL. He was provided with a lot of learning opportunities through this diversity. Apart from just academics, he was also able to spend time on other activities because of the culture here.
The Procedure for admission and acquiring scholarships
This was his first time applying to an international university. Therefore, he was helped tremendously by the team at BigBenLanguage. BigBenLanguage is a counselling service for university applicants overseas. He was able to seamlessly go through the EHL admission process with their help. Generally, EHL requires the usual documents which include a motivation letter, professional CV, certification to attest to your level of English proficiency and high school transcripts.
Moreover, EHL had their unique admission process. It consisted of an aptitude test and interviews. After successfully undergoing all the stages, he received the acceptance letter. He was honoured with the award of scholarships during his studies on many occasions. There is a holistic approach to obtaining a scholarship at EHL. It takes academic and extracurricular performance into consideration along with the financial aspect. Moreover, it also takes into consideration the talent for service professions and the motivation.
The Process of Scholarship Application – Documentations and Contributions
Excellence must be portrayed by the suitable candidate in both the academic and personal fields. In order to apply for a scholarship, one must undergo the process of sharing several documents including your CV, a cover letter, two letters of recommendation and all your student transcripts. One must also submit documents regarding their financial information such as their forecasted earnings and budget. Finally, one must also think about how they are planning to contribute to society. Through his startups or through other personal ways, he was able to do so in the form of donations or support irrespective of it being big or small.
During his studies, some of his achievements were in favour of him. Such achievements included learning French from scratch and bringing it up to a B1 level, receiving high praise from his employer in Hong Kong during his administrative internship, launching his first start-up ‘The Indian Table’, leading his teams throughout all semesters, and during his final year at EHL, raising his second startup to impressive levels. This helped him avail himself of honorary loans from EHL along with his scholarships. Therefore, he could get a loan for zero per cent interest. He could also pay it after his graduation back to EHL.
Switzerland and his entrepreneurial journey
He started his first entrepreneurial stint during the second year of his degree at EHL. He co-founded a dark/ cloud kitchen. To fellow students and locals, this provided high-quality but affordable weekend meals. He had always been inclined to build something on his own even though there were many advantages to being employed. He feels that than the impact that he could create on being employed, he can create a greater impact on the world as an entrepreneur.
He noticed a gap between the demand and supply of affordable food options on weekends for students during his first year at university. Therefore, he decided to solve that. In a similar way, his second start-up also originated. He decided to step in because there were more than a few students interested in tutoring services. However, there was no relevant supply. Meanwhile, he also has another start-up in the pipeline through which he expects to shake the local F&B market.
Sometimes, it can get demanding to manage your student life, personal life, and life as a business owner. However, the journey is undoubtedly rewarding and worth all the sacrifices. Through such initiatives, he gained more clarity on his life goals and the plan needed to achieve them. Apart from this, he also dabbles in some part-time jobs.
Switzerland is an expensive country – Other job opportunities
Switzerland is considered one of the most expensive countries to ensure a better living. It is possible to lead a comfortable lifestyle while being a university student with the right mindset and budgeting. His parents sponsored his living expenses for the first six months. However, he could afford his living in Switzerland after starting his first internship. He was also able to save up to 50 per cent of his salary on the side.
He was able to avail himself of different kinds of opportunities since then. He started working “extras” or part-time jobs in the region. Such opportunities included waitressing at local restaurants, teaching peers, walking dogs, etc. Along with start-ups, over the years, he regularly participated in some of these.
The fast-moving culture in Hong Kong – An internship experience
He was able to gain an internship in Hong Kong through his experience in the cloud kitchen. He got an opportunity to work in finance for Black Sheep Restaurants. He found going to Hong Kong as one of the best decisions so far in his life. For the restaurant group, he was working in the finance department. He was able to dig deep into the world of food and beverage. As part of his job, he would also work in different restaurants for the same group during the weekends. Moreover, he was also able to learn the art of storytelling and taking care of the guests. He was also able to make some great connections and grew his network as the icing on the cake.
He found Hong Kong as a great location. He was living in one of the busiest and most dynamic localities in the world during the week. However, he used to spend his time on the beautiful white sand beach on the weekends. He would also go on a hike in the forest on an island that is located far from the busy city. It offers various experiences, even though it is a small region. Such experiences can be discovered for years. For instance, the culinary industry is full of incredible surprises. It also consists of cuisines from around the world.
Switzerland vs Hong Kong – A comparison
He was unable to compare the studying experience between the two locations. However, he noticed a lot of differences in the lifestyle between the two locations. He found that the culture of Hong Kong was very fast-moving. However, in Switzerland, it was a bit more relaxed. In Hong Kong, it is normal to work 12 or 15 hours a day. However, it is not so in Switzerland for most companies.
He found it easier to personally integrate with people in Hong Kong. However, this took some time for him in Switzerland. However, the relationships are bound to last long once you integrate with someone in Switzerland. Above all, the student shares the view that Hong Kong offered him the dynamicity of his home in Delhi. Moreover, just like Switzerland, Hong Kong brought him closer to nature.
Sarthak Sharma was able to gain global exposure in both Switzerland and Hong Kong. Studying abroad definitely teaches independence to an individual and helps them manage their own finances. Through studying abroad, one can also gain better job opportunities that the current job market offers. Thus, students studying abroad are more likely to ace the global job market than the ones pursuing their education in their home towns.
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