What is the ideal hospitality graduate like?

Over the past seven years I have had the good fortune to be an advisory board member at the Penn State School of Hospitality Management. Dr. Donna Quadri-Felitti, the Marvin Ashner director and associate professor, School of Hospitality Management at Penn State (and fellow HOTELS blogger), and I recently discussed the notion of an “ideal” hotel school graduate.

Some of the questions we asked:

  • What should this student know?
  • What should this student be able to do or be?
  • What does this ideal student care about?
  • What are their future opportunities?
  • What kinds of experiences contribute the most to developing this ideal graduate?

I am hoping readers enjoy my thoughts (note, they are in no particular order):

What should this student know?

  • Common sense
  • Continuous and thorough understanding of local, national and world events
  • Wide range of digital technology
  • Research skills
  • Knowledge of the broad lodging industry
  • Knowledge of hotel and food and beverage operation
  • Financial concepts
  • Ability to think for themselves
  • That looking busy does not equate to productivity
  • To not show up to an office if one is sick
  • That life is a whole lot more than work
  • The concept of risk/reward
  • That nothing in life is “free”… feeling entitled leads nowhere

What should this student be able to do or be?

  • Positive
  • Motivated
  • Focused
  • Committed
  • A critical thinker and problem solver
  • Well organized
  • Persistent;
  • A quick study
  • Dependable
  • Gracious
  • Conduct analysis leading to formation of well-reasoned thoughts and conclusions
  • Clearly and succinctly articulate themselves in a professional and convincing and credible manner both orally and in writing
  • Work with minimal supervision
  • Lean into one’s weaknesses
  • Embrace one’s vulnerability
  • Follow through to completion of tasks and projects
  • Able to ask thoughtful and engaging questions
  • Stay in the loop but avoid gossip
  • Establish a personal brand

 What does this ideal student care about?

  • Compassion for others
  • Optimism; no room for negativity
  • Curiosity; always wanting to learn
  • Passion and enthusiasm;
  • Personal and professional short- and long-term goals
  • Competency
  • Teamwork
  • Work ethic
  • Professionalism
  • Punctuality
  • Respectfulness;
  • Attention to detail
  • Displaying flexibility
  • Displaying modesty
  • Being perceived as trustworthy and credible
  • Being efficient with their time
  • Connectivity with a broad range of other professionals
  • Displaying leadership skills
  • Being able to accept and learn from failure AND being able to move on
  • A positive online presence
  • Understanding and taking advantage of mentorship
  • Their ultimate personal legacy

What are their future opportunities?

  • Boundless

 What kinds of experiences contribute the most to developing this ideal student?

  • Internships
  • Volunteer work
  • Domestic and international travel

What do you think are appropriate answers to the questions posed?

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