News for the Hospitality Executive
An Open Letter to Hospitality Students in their Junior Year
Or Thoughts on how to prepare for Graduation
by Dr. John Hogan, April 7, 2010
The motivation for this column comes from the questions I have been receiving from recent hospitality graduates with increasing frequency lately. The title of the article focuses on students in their 3rd year of traditional university study – the year prior to graduation.
Below are three sample email inquiries I have recently received from
students or recent graduates, who became familiar with me because of columns
or pieces I have written:
I do my best to respond to reader emails on a timely basis.
For background, let me share with my readers that for much of my career in hospitality, I have interacted with students and faculty in hotel schools and academic programs in major colleges and universities.
• As an undergraduate at the University of Massachusetts- Amherst, I was a teaching assistant for two years for the department head, Dr. Donald Lundberg.Back to the three emails mentioned above:
It is challenging to offer counsel to very specific inquiries like these, as I do not know the individuals, their strengths, their goals and I do not want to offer incomplete options.
I am therefore writing this Open letter to Hospitality Students in their Junior Year.
First, it is addressed to Juniors because they can see graduation in their line of vision. Freshman, Sophomores and Seniors might also gather some insights, but I am focusing on Juniors because they have the right amount of time to adjust their classes and their focus should they need or want to.
Graduation is an exciting accomplishment and the people who have earned their success by completed commitments should feel a sense of achievement! Those who are still undergraduates have to complete academic and other requirements to obtain the degree, but there is much more than the diploma.
The world is changing at an ever-increasing speed and the hospitality market is both shrinking and enlarging, depending on one’s perspective. Travel is more affordable and accessible for more people globally than ever before and the choices for types of tourism continue to expand. The competition for profitable employment is constantly growing globally as well, as more hospitality, culinary and hotel management programs are evolving regularly
If I were to offer counsel to today’s undergraduates, it would include some questions of my own for them:
1. What kinds of courses have you enjoyed most so far? What was it about them that drew your attention? What kinds of career opportunities might these courses prepare you for? Why did you appreciate these classes more than the other subject matters?Several of the email messages said the senders wanted to use their education and experience in their home country or a certain location. What do those markets need? How can you contribute effectively and profitably for all?
Academic degrees have measurable value, but reality also demonstrates that formal education alone is usually not enough to guarantee success in the real world. Case studies, internships and course work are all beneficial to assessing potential approaches to real problems and issues but are seldom the total answer to successfully responding to actual crises.
To answer the questions posed by these three individual who are seeking direction without knowing the answers to the points just mentioned would limit what I might think or possibly offer. One of the individuals mentioned some experience in front desk and housekeeping management, which is excellent. Excelling at both of these is essential, regardless of your career choice, as one represents the largest staff and payroll and the other represents the essential guest contact and point of "moments of truth."
Starting a consulting firm with only advanced degrees is a difficult task. While there are resources and associations of similar minded individuals, there are clear advantages in setting goals to spending a certain number of years as an associate with a consulting group that has services that appeal to you. Finding out what works and learning from that group and their clients will provide a much deeper understanding on what you face as an independent.
The second part of this column is titled “Thoughts on how to prepare for Graduation”. Steven Covey created his legacy with his work “The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People.” Each of the Seven Habits is important, but FIRST THINGS FIRST and BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND are both critical to the person entering a very competitive industry. Learning to prioritize and to “think” beyond today are essential keys to success in hospitality.
In my career, I became very familiar with the wisdom of the Chinese Proverb “Learning is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back.” If we do not consistently improve, we will fall behind.
The technology of today provides instant communication and information.
The future of hospitality remains in blending the sophistication of continually
improving technology with the consistency of service and hospitality delivered
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep
What actions are you taking today?
KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my new 2010 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings will focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles and HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS. My segments Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success will be featured at appropriate times in the year as well.
Feel free to share an idea for a column at email@example.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements ………….
And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.
Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES are available from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com, www.smartbizzonline.com and other industry sources.
All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication
John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and
consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many
hospitality industry events. http://www.linkedin.com/in/drjohnhoganchache.
Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
|Also See:||Where Is Your Desk? - In the Lobby… Where it's Been Since 1991 / John Hogan & Richard Harris / March 2010|
|Keys to Success - A Fresh Look at the 4 Ps of Marketing or An Unlikely Salute to Collin Raye / Dr John Hogan / March 2010|
|Hospitality Conversations: Property Improvement Plans or PIPS / Dr John Hogan / March 2010|
|Managing the Intricate Challenge of Today's Hospitality Leadership / Dr John Hogan / March 2010|
|Hospitality Conversations: Selling Your Hotel In a Sluggish Economy / Dr. John Hogan / February 2010|