Alumni interview: Why an MBA in hospitality?

2 Feb 2016 | by Les Roches


Les Roches International School of Hotel Management MBA alumna Shaheena Nanji Les Roches MBA alumna Shaheena Nanji (Class of 2014) was recognized by Continental Who’s Who as a Pinnacle Professional in the field of Hospitality in 2015. Shaheena is the Director of Operations & H.R. at Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Ontario (Canada) and Vice President of FANS International Hospitality Group.

  1. Why did you choose to study an MBA at Les Roches?

There are many reasons why I chose to study an MBA at Les Roches. One of the most important reasons was the global accreditation that Les Roches has within the hospitality industry that potentially leads its graduates to a vast variety of career opportunities. Another reason was that it combined academic and practical aspects of learning which in my opinion is critical to success within the dynamic world in which we live in today. Lastly, it was the opportunity to network with students from all around the world in the Swiss Alps.

  1. How is Les Roches MBA program unique?

The Les Roches MBA Program is unique as it helps its students to develop the capacity to strategically solve hospitality issues at a real-world level rather than using only scenarios.

We had opportunities to work with hotels in Switzerland that were facing various problems and it challenged students to work together as a team by using each of the team member’s strengths to determine the most successful outcome. 

The program also invited different hospitality consultants to teach their specialties’ to the students providing extensive knowledge and different aspects to global industries. And the most important aspect in my opinion that made this MBA program unique was the open communication and support that was received from the Dean and various teachers to ensure that the students benefited from every learning opportunity and prepare them for life and the industry.

  1. How has the MBA helped you with the strategic and leadership aspects of your current job?

During the MBA, we were given several team projects with varying group sizes and different individuals with various experiences and backgrounds. By learning to work to overcome individualistic challenges towards a common goal significantly improved strategic and leadership abilities. For instance, our hotel teams currently consist of a wide range of cultures and backgrounds in different departments and with the knowledge that I gained from Les Roches, I was able to come up with ways to increase communication and get them to work more efficiently and as a team towards achieving the company’s goals.

  1. Does getting an MBA help you progress further, faster? If so, how?

Definitely, I have seen that within the hospitality industry, it is constantly changing and the competition is becoming fierce.

Working in the hotel operations does provide knowledge and experience to a certain extent, however, to gain the competitive edge and to thrive in your market you need to be able to strategize, forecast and understand the industry at a higher level

which is what is accomplished with the MBA.  It is the balance between experience and strategy that managers and owners look at more seriously when looking at hiring individuals at high level positions, thus with an MBA you have a higher chance of progressing further, faster.

  1. How has your MBA indirectly helped your company to perform better?

To be honest, just with the title and education achievement of an MBA, the number of business and financial opportunities that have been presented to our company has been huge. It is perceived at a very high level and society respects and trusts individuals based on this qualification. It has definitely indirectly given our company leverage to succeed within the industry.

  1. What does it mean for you to be voted Professional of the Year  (Who’s Who) and why do you think (objectively ;-)) you won this award?

I am very humbled and honored that Who’s Who voted me as Professional of the Year. This award I feel recognizes individuals that are trying to make a difference in their profession and can lead by example to inspire other people.

I find myself very fortunate for being able to have the opportunities to work within the global hospitality industry and those experiences have given me insights to build a successful business in Canada but I think it should also reflect on what you can achieve within your community. I am a big supporter of social responsibility and spend my time trying to make a small difference where I can. I hope by winning this award, I can motivate others to work hard to not only achieve success but also make differences in their communities as well.

Les Roches


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