Special Advertising Section
Hospitality degrees offer a world of work options
Students learn about and practice customer service in Kendall's Michelin-recognized fine dining restaurant that's open to the public.
"These courses are required because we believe that any future hospitality manager, regardless of venue or career choice, will be in very close contact with chefs and will have a service element to what they do. Our Hotel and Lodging students also spend an intensive week of evenings in our Hyatt Hotels teaching suite, getting experience in housekeeping as well as two weeks becoming acquainted with a hotel property management system."
The second year introduces Kendall students to more in-depth coursework in management, all focused on the hospitality industry, says Catrett. "Students have the option of completing two quarters at any of our 30 sister schools worldwide, including Glion Institute of Higher Education in Switzerland and Blue Mountains International Management School in Australia," he adds.
Wilkos had the opportunity to study abroad at Kendall's sister school, the Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Switzerland. "My time away only strengthened my passion and love of the industry," he says, "and completely immersed me in an unfamiliar environment in which I was able to flourish and thrive."
RMU's hospitality program also incorporates hands-on learning through opportunities on campus and abroad.
"At the freshmen/sophomore level, students take Restaurant a la Carte, which is where students actually run Eyrie, the RMU restaurant located in Oak Park," says Rotunno. "They also take an externship class at another restaurant. At the junior/senior level, they take Advanced Restaurant a la Carte, also at Eyrie and they take another externship experience at a hotel/restaurant."
In addition, RMU students can study abroad in Florence, Italy, or other foreign locales. Hindsley had the opportunity to study in Florence for a quarter.
"It was there that I got to intern in an Italian restaurant," he says. "I also took advantage of the events that RMU did for outside businesses and organizations. That gave me the opportunity to work with the chef and instructors outside of the classroom."
Words from the wise
If you are contemplating a degree in hospitality, Catrett says prospective students "should have an appreciation for [if not yet experience with] the finer things in life, a fascination with culture and with all things cosmopolitan, and a sincere commitment to aesthetic perfection. It is a good career for those who crave action and thrive on high-pressure environments."
Hindsley's advice to those already in a program is to be proactive and get as much experience in the field as possible.
"I think the most important thing I can stress to any student is take what you learn in the classroom and put it to work -- and this does not mean after you graduate," he says. "The skills you learn in the classroom tend to stick more if you are forced to practice them. The more you do something, the better you will be and the faster you will perfect the skill.
"It is also important to remember to listen to and take advice from as many chefs and industry professionals as possible. Networking is key in the hospitality industry."