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Nicolas SCHELL

Motivated by a passion for hospitality, I joined École Hôtelière de Lausanne in 2007. As part of the Bachelor program, two internships of 6 months are required to be completed by the students. When looking for my second internship, I was offered a Management Training position as Junior Assistant to the Food and Beverage Manager at Hotel President Wilson in Geneva (Starwood Luxury Collection). But the offer was under one condition, I had to suspend my studies and commit for 1 year, which I did.

I was immediately immersed in the reality of departmental management in a luxurious and busy hotel. Aside from various operational tasks, I have been involved in the elaboration of budgets, revenue forecasting,recruitment, payroll monitoring and cost control. I have also had the privilege to be part of the project management team for the full refurbishment and reopening of the gastronomic restaurant, The Bayview, which recently obtained its first Michelin Star.

However attractive it was to stay in a professional environment, I came back to EHL to finish my studies and graduated in July 2012, obtaining my Bachelor of Science in International Hospitality Management. In the meantime, my former Food and Beverage Manager from Geneva had moved to The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh(part of Rocco Forte Hotels), and he offered me to join him as Assistant Food and Beverage Manager right after my graduation. We signed and I was on-board in August 2012.

In addition to the day-to-day operational and administrative running of the department, I was involved in the management of all the major projects that were conducted such as: a global beverage cost improvement program resulting in a 15% growth of the contribution margin, the full refurbishment of the Afternoon Tealounge, the creation and opening of a brand new Whisky bar, the redevelopment of the cocktail bar which was subsequently awarded Scottish cocktail bar of the year in 2013, and the redevelopment of the brasserie which was awarded Scottish restaurant of the year in 2013.

The Executive Assistant Manager in charge of Food and Beverage left The Balmoral Hotel in June 2014, and I was promoted Food and Beverage Manager in July, just before my 27th birthday.

Today, the Food and Beverage department that I am leading is composed of over 130 people, working in 9 different outlets/divisions. There are various new projects that I have already started to work on such as the creation and implementation of a new methodology for wages and revenues forecasting, the redevelopment of the breakfast experience, the revision of all outlets uniforms' styles and standards.

The major development project that I am driving is the complete refurbishment of the Michelin starred restaurant Number One. We solicited the support of Rocco Forte's design team who assessed the needs and proposed a scope of works, following which I elaborated and submitted a return on investment plan. The latter was approved and a capital expenditure was allocated. The restaurant will be closed for the whole month of January 2015 to undergo major transformations. I am currently preparing a critical path for the works in order for the tasks to be appropriately and timely dispatched. Simultaneously, the Executive Chef and myself are working on the improved service style and food product that we want to offer upon reopening in February.

The philosophy that I live by on a daily basis is to consistently aim at improving myself, others and the organisation which I am part of. My career goal is to become the General Manager of an iconic 5 star hotel within the next five to ten years.