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Strengthening Academia-Industry Nexus through Industry Advisory Panel Meeting & Networking Session

On November 29, 2023, the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Events (SHTE) hosted an exclusive Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) Meeting that brought together 18 IAP members and top industry players from the hospitality, tourism, and events sectors to the session. The meeting began with a warm welcome from Prof. Dr. Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences & Leisure Management. This was followed by an overview of the school's 2023 outstanding performance in 2023, presented by the Head of School, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Joaquim Dias Soeiro. The main session featured a general discussion, followed by the breakout sessions discussed on various important topics relevant to the hospitality, tourism and events aspect.

The main session covered a wide range of subjects, indicating a well-rounded agenda. Key topics discussed included the green hotel syllabus, technology in operations, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), physical event presence, multidisciplinary learning experiences, student retention in the industry after graduation, and key graduate skills. These discussions likely provided valuable insights into current trends, challenges, and opportunities in the hospitality, tourism, and events sectors. The enthusiasm expressed by the IAP members suggested that the discussions were not only meaningful but also generated interest and excitement.

The continuation of these discussions into the breakout sessions indicated a desire to delve deeper into specific areas and explore potential collaborations and projects. The specific topics addressed in the breakout sessions, such as marketing innovative student projects, joint collaborative projects/events etc., highlighted a practical focus on actionable outcomes and the potential for real-world applications.

As the evening sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the cityscape, a sense of anticipation filled the air at the elegant venue chosen for the dinner following the IAP meeting. The day's discussions had been both insightful and productive, laying the groundwork for innovative collaborations and strategic initiatives. Now, against the backdrop of camaraderie and shared vision, participants gathered for a delightful dinner that promised not only to satiate their palates but also to nurture the relationships and synergies forged earlier in the day. Seated at beautifully adorned tables, the atmosphere buzzed with a blend of professional enthusiasm and conviviality, creating the perfect setting for continued exchange and the cultivation of lasting alliances.

The 'Industry Professionals Networking Session' organized by our Master of International Hospitality Management (MIHM) and Bachelor of International Hospitality Management (BIHM) students provided an exceptional platform, with over 50 industry experts representing the Hospitality, Tourism, and Events industry in attendance. The evening saw the industry experts engaging in dynamic exchanges with students and faculty, paving the way for academia-industry collaboration. As plates were served and conversations flowed, the evening unfolded as a seamless extension of the day's intellectual endeavors, solidifying the connections made during the IAP meeting and setting the stage for future endeavors in the dynamic landscape of industry collaboration.

"The networking dinner provided an ideal setting for vibrant discussions and idea sharing", highlighted by two MIHM students summarizing the event's key insights. The gathering concluded with a group photoshoot and a reflective closing message from Assoc. Prof. Dr. Joaquim Dias Soeiro, demonstrating the dedication of industry professionals in bridging the gap between academia and industry.

Gratitude extended to the organizing team, Food and Beverage team, Master of International Hospitality Management (MIHM) and Bachelor of International Hospitality Management (BIHM) students, and faculty members for their invaluable contributions and support! Overall, the coaction of the IAP meeting and dinner was a successful platform for networking, knowledge exchange, and the exploration of collaborative initiatives within the hospitality, tourism, and events industries.


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