EMCup – an extraordinary opportunity for true tourism students

Once during their studies, students on the curriculum of Tourism and Hotel Management at Pärnu College have the chance to apply for participation at the EMCup, a cross-European competition for hotel schools. Our students have gained high-level competition and teamwork experience in front of top European hotel industry professionals, established contacts with other tourism schools, and found international internships and jobs through this grand event. The main focus of the competition is writing an academic article and presenting it in an elevator pitch format during the competition days, but there are also several other tasks before and after that guarantee stepping out of the comfort zone while combining effort with fun. In 2024, the team representing Estonia and the entire Baltic region was ForEST. Let's take a closer look at the team's impressions and thoughts!


WHERE? Maastricht, The Netherlands

WHEN? 4–5 February 2024

WHO? Second and third-year students Maria Bobkin, Kadriann Kõiv, Kätlin Kuusemäe, Martin Mosezzov, along with supervisors, Internship Specialist Getter Koobas and Project Manager Tõiv Jõul

EMCup competition encompasses a lot of positivity, laughter, surprises, good energy, and excitement – both planned as part of the competition programme and spontaneously among delightful people. But what was the most challenging part of the competition?

Kätlin: "The most difficult part was to present quickly and well – especially on the second competition day. It was necessary to quickly find a presentation topic and its sharp focus, put together a pitch, and present it smoothly. The pressure is high as the jury and the given time frame make it stressful. This creates extra fear especially about forgetting the text, which in turn makes the presentation unnatural. Therefore – the most important thing is still to do your thing, do your best, and believe in it.

Now, looking at it humorously, the most difficult part is certainly walking on heels at the end of the first competition day. Talent Walk (editor's note: a long walk where student talents can chat with hotel representatives) on heels is not that easy!"

One of the mottos of EMCup is that it's not really about winning, but about everything that comes with the competition. What was the most valuable part of this experience for you?

Kätlin: "The value of this competition lies in a very special experience and new acquaintances."

Maria: "For me, the greatest value was networking, the opportunity to create a network worldwide. I got to know specialists in the hotel field and dedicated students."

Martin: "Certainly new acquaintances, starting from students and ending with representatives and directors of hotel chains."

As evident from the above, making new contacts and establishing a professional network were important parts of the competition. However, it's human to expect some feedback on one's efforts, which started already in October and ended in February. How satisfied were you with the results?

Kätlin: "Top 10 was within reach and achievable, and in my opinion, it was the decline in motivation on the second day that led to falling behind (from looking at the scores for different rounds). But at the same time, I cannot say that I am not satisfied because the competition was balanced, the differences between scores were very small, and we did quite well."

Maria: "Pierre de Coubertin said that it is not the victory, but the participation that counts. I became richer by the experience. My goal was not to win the EMCup, but to gain new knowledge, acquaintances, and see the future prospects of the hotel industry."

Martin: "Personally, I think we could have reached the top 15 because all the prerequisites were there, but considering that we got better results in some tasks than the top universities in Europe, I am satisfied with the results."

Sometimes students are unclear about what this competition entails and why they should even participate. Despite the fact that the competition activities require considerable effort from each team member, no student has regretted their participation so far. Why would you recommend participation and to what kind of a student?

Kätlin: "I recommend the event to everyone who is bold, feels comfortable in doing presentations, including in English, and wants to establish many good contacts in the hotel industry. And if you are already participating, take this mission seriously from the beginning (NB! White Paper is important), as everything else is based on it. A solid knowledge of the topic will give you greater self-confidence on the spot and definitely an advantage in successfully completing the assigned tasks! And if you set aside this little pressure and the competitive moment, then it's an incredibly cool, positive, and inspiring event that you’ll remember for a long time!"

Maria: "The competition is suitable for every tourism and hotel management student because one of EMCup's mottos is "Step out of your COMFORT ZONE." The organisers make you feel that everyone is important in the competition. In addition, many tasks are carried out during these two days, which help to reduce competition anxiety."

Martin: "Absolutely for everyone who is not afraid of public speaking because the experience is unique and the organisation is at a high level!"

Keep your eyes and ears open, as although the previous competition excitement has not yet cooled down, application for the 2025 competition will start soon!

Pärnu kolledži lõpuaktus 2024

Graduation Ceremony of the UT Pärnu College 2024

Pärnu kolledži ja Pärnumaa Kutsehariduskeskuse koostöö

Pärnu College Student Council

Garri Raagmaa

Pärnu College Director Garri Raagmaa's speech at the Graduation Ceremony 2023