Glion London opens later this year on the campus of Roehampton University and will welcome its first cohort of students in August.
The school, which is the first Glion Institute outside of Switzerland, will offer both a Bachelor of Business Administration in Hospitality Management and a Postgraduate Diploma in Hospitality Administration.
Both courses, however, do not come cheap - the undergraduate option costs more than £20k a semester, while the postgraduate course comes with a bill of £15,065 per semester.
While acknowledging the institute had competition from other educational establishments in the country, van der Spek defended the high rates. He said more than 90 per cent of Glion students found employment in the hospitality industry.
Furthermore, he revealed 78 per cent reached at least manager level after taking a Glion course.
“We are not a state university or school, we are not subsidised by the Government or by tax payers," the former IHG chief operating officer told BigHospitality.
“Our students are taught full-time, our days are long – some of the classes start at 6am, some finish at 9:30pm and some are over the weekend. We compress a lot of knowledge into our curriculum compared to the other schools,” said van der Spek, explaining potential students would need to find a sponsor - their parents, themselves or an employer.
The hospitality industry veteran explained the ambition of the institute was to create international-minded employees. As such no one nationality is allowed to dominate the student body.
Around half of those studying in London will be from Europe and around seven or eight per cent are expected to be from the UK.
Despite the growing number of hospitality courses available, van der Spek told BigHospitality he believed there was a place for new academic options and courses with a large amount of theoretical and academic content.
“If you asked me how many hotels I opened when I was responsible for IHG it was one a week. If you ask my successor today he would say it was one per day. If you talk to the chief executive of Accor he will say he was opening 54 hotels in China – that means 54 general managers, 54x7 department heads, 54x20 supervisors, 54x200-400 employees – we can’t deliver that.”
Laureate Hospitality Education has a portfolio of seven hospitality management schools across the world. Courses teach a mix of marketing, finance, science, health & safety, hotel operations as well as service and kitchen skills.
“Most of the hotels today are owned by large investment funds or banking corporations – they are looking for students who have a Master’s degree because they say ‘we need somebody who has the brains and intellect and the skills to judge how we manage our portfolio’," he added.