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?
- A critical thinker and problem solver
- Well organized
- A quick study
- 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
- Work ethic
- 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?
What kinds of experiences contribute the most to developing this ideal student?
- Volunteer work
- Domestic and international travel
What do you think are appropriate answers to the questions posed?