Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School’s (BMIHMS) mission is to produce graduates who will become the world’s best hoteliers, and after 33 years of operation, its alumni are a shining example of its success.

BMIHMS opened in February 1991 with an intake of 40 students. It is now the longest-running residential hotel school in Australia. The school set out to offer world-class training in hotel management using the Swiss education model, so students from Australia and Asia would not have to travel to Switzerland to be trained, and was quick to adopt a uniquely Australian approach, naming it the BMIHMS three-pillars approach.

This framework continues to guide the school’s operations, activities and industry engagement today, producing graduates whose careers have excelled in Australia and internationally.  

BMIHMS offers a unique experience that allows students to directly apply the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom to an environment that reflects their future workplace. Operating as a simulated hotel, the residential campus located in Leura, Blue Mountains, delivers a 24/7 immersive learning experience to undergraduate students. Postgraduate students also complete on-campus applied training subjects at purpose-built facilities located at the Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide Torrens University campuses. 

Students are drawn to the practical nature of the training they receive at Blue Mountains.

“One of the biggest selling points for me of BMIHMS, over other universities, is the hands-on nature of the course,” says Bachelor of Business (International Hotel & Resort Management) graduate, Bailey Wootton.

“When you start working in a hotel, you already know a lot of the foundational skills. That is the key way that BMIHMS prepares us for the real world.”

Students have already mastered the basics of service and hotel operations when they begin their industry placements. This has become highly valued by the school’s industry partner hotels as they know the students will need little training once employed. 

The Graduate Privileged Partners Program (GPP) was established in 2006 for the purposes of offering the school’s highest achievers exclusive access to top-tier international hotel brands. 

Since then, the program has evolved to include 10 international hotel brands and offers networking opportunities throughout the year for all students, as well as contributing to the school’s industry advisory board, course advisory committees, career expos and open days. 

“Our relationships with not only partner hotels, but the industry in general, is extremely valuable for the school,” says Associate Professor Simon Pawson.

“Essentially what we do day in, and day out, is prepare students for leadership careers in hotels, and we can’t do that successfully unless we have continued guidance and input from industry.

“These relationships are something we take seriously and work very hard to maintain.”

This year the school has been developing a strategy for the next five years that builds upon its foundations but looks to the future.

The uniquely Australian flavour of BMIHMS and Australian-trained hoteliers have become highly sought after both here and internationally. 

Australian hospitality, as differentiated from the more formal Swiss approach, has been characterised by an informal and laid-back approach, maintaining professionalism while exuding a friendly, warm and relaxed atmosphere. 

“The Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains is one of the largest employers in the area, and we value working with The Blue Mountains Hotel Management School and their engaged, passionate happy students,” says Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains by MGallery General Manager, Charlie Young.

“The quality, detail, focus and thoroughness of their education equips students with the skills and education that stand out, making it easy for us to provide work opportunities for them.

“These students add value, positivity, and optimism instantly. We love providing them with opportunities.”

The BMIHMS Alumni Association also remains a key factor in the success of the school. Formed in 1993, the association now has more than 8000 members. The association and network represent a phenomenal resource in supporting new graduates in their careers. On average, 90% of graduates find employment within three months of graduation; 70% attain management and leadership positions within five years; and 12% attain the role of general manager or higher. 

Alumni chapters operate in the Americas, Europe and Asia, with regular gatherings. An alumni board meets regularly and examines projects to give back to the school through events, student mentor opportunities and alumni awards. The school currently has 12 alumni who have chosen to return and undertake teaching and research roles, adding value to the student experience through their industry knowledge and understanding of the BMIHMS teaching model.

BMIHMS has become globally recognised for its expertise in Australian hotel management education.

“Our focus will very much continue on the next generation of hotel leaders, and ensuring they have the required skills and knowledge to lead our industry into the future,” added Pawson.

“We have an incredible team of academics and trainers that ensure our students reach their full potential.”