7th edition


First Place: Sojin Choi


Sojin Choi, a student from Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has won the 7th edition of the Hyatt Student Prize, Leaders of Tomorrow. The award ceremony took place on 1 December 2014 in Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme, with Karine Le Marchand as Master of Ceremonies, and Hyatt representatives in attendance to award the much coveted prize.

Sojin Choi, from Korea, is currently undertaking a master’s degree at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Participating in this competition, she said, she has been “very happy to enjoy an extremely enriching experience and to take up a huge challenge”. Most of all it represents “a huge opportunity to know herself better and to exchange ideas with hospitality industry professionals and other student candidates”.


Selection of the candidates

A total of 15 schools specialising in the international hospitality industry were selected to join the competition. Following Hyatt requirements, each student had to be at least 21 years old, prepare a Master’s degree and speak English fluently. A first selection, based on the student files and video presentations, was made by the jury on October 14, 2014. Thus, 10 school candidates will be in Paris for the final selection and award ceremony on December 1, 2014.

10 finalists

Gianpiero AUFIERO Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom – 25 years old – Italian

Bianca BREUCKER International University of Applied Sciences, Bad Honnef, Germany – 23 years old – German

Sojin CHOI Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong – 28 years old – Korean

Anne-Sophie de BEAULIEU École de Savignac, France – 24 years old – French

Jijo KEERANKUZHY The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, United Arab Emirates – 25 years old – Indian

Charles NEYERS ESSEC MBA in Hospitality Management, France – 23 years old – French

Luis RULLAN École hotelière de Lausanne, Switzerland – 30 years old – Spanish

Magali SIMONOT Glion Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland – 23 years old – French

Nicolas STACHOWIAK Institut Paul Bocuse, France – 28 years old – French

Sophia VIRANI Les Roches International School of Hotel Management, Switzerland – 24 years old – Canadian

Jury members

Year after year, these personalities represent a variety of backgrounds from the worlds of luxury hospitality, international upscale business, entrepreneurship, sports, entertainment, etc.

Carlo d’Asaro Biondo – President of the Jury

Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, President of Operations South & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Africa at Google.

Gerard Petit – Jury Member

Gerard Petit is Vice-President Sales, La Première Air France-Commercial, Sales & Marketing Division. Some of his previous experience in management includes Regional Director Southwest France and Regional Delegate for Southern Cone (Argentina, Chili, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia). Southern Cone (Argentina, Chili, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia).

Iris Knobloch – Jury Member

Iris Knobloch was named Warner Bros. Entertainment France’s President in 2006 after having spent more than 10 years at Warner Bros. As a member of WHV’s European management team and at Time Warner as SVP, International Relations and Strategic Policy, Europe. She currently serves as a member of the Board of Accor.

John Wallis – Jury Member

John Wallis, Chief Marketing Officer since 2012, previously served as Global Head of Marketing and Brand Strategy from November 2008. Mr.Wallis’ career with Hyatt began in 1981 and he served as Senior Vice President, Product and Brand Development from August 2007. From 2004 through 2007, he served as Senior Vice President, Global Asset Management, where he was responsible for the management of more than 40 Hyattowned properties across North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. A British national, he was educated at Ecole hotelière de Lausanne School in Switzerland.

Alain Passard – Jury Member

Alain Passard opened Arpège, his “Maison de Cuisine”, in 1986, previously owned by his learning master, Alain Senderens. The Arpège restaurant became known in the 1990s as a genuine grill, but a break of creativity at the beginning of the new decade made Alain Passard give up this kind of cooking to concentrate on another kind – vegetable cooking. This point led him to establish his own gardens, which now provide nearly 50 tons of vegetables a year to the restaurant. In the “Maison de Cuisine” of Alain Passard, vegetables are treated like a Grand Cru.

Christophe Sadones – Jury Member

Christophe Sadones, President of Louis Vuitton China since 2014, was also General Manager of Park Hyatt Shanghai for six years. He has been awarded by the President of France “Knight of the National Order of France” this year. He has many skills in hospitality management thanks to his previous experiences in Asia for the Hyatt Group. Indeed, he have worked in Hyatt hotels in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai.

Cécile Beliot-Zind – Jury Member

Cécile Beliot-Zind, recently named General Director of Danone Eaux France, was in charge of marketing strategy and marketing plans execution at Danone-Unimilk Russia as Marketing Vice President. Most of her previous experiences were at the active brands of Danone Group.