“Experiential learning” is a priority for the Montclair State University School of Business, which takes learning outside of the classroom by providing students with the opportunity to take on real-world business challenges. Through face-to-face meetings with top business executives, business facilities tours from corporate boardrooms to factory floors, and by working in teams to find creative solutions to pressing business issues, students gain 'practical' experience. In the process, they build self-confidence, presentation skills and business expertise while adding value to corporate partners at a reasonable cost.
Alumni from the Montclair State University School of Business agree that this practical, life experience offered through the School’s Hospitality Management Program has been key to helping them build the confidence they needed to enter the workforce and the hospitality management field.
Hospitality management is all about providing exceptional service – from anticipating customer needs to exceeding expectations. This dynamic, expanding field is built on people who are team builders, strategic planners, quality control specialists, and “people” people. The program, offered at Montclair State is supported with practical training through internships, field experiences, and on-site courses at local hotels. The program provides students to work at the hotel as part of their coursework, and the program is co-taught by Li-Chun Lin, Department Chair, and Hyatt staff, taking place at Hyatt alternate weeks. To date, over 100 students have enrolled in the class and there are currently eight graduates working at the Hyatt in Morristown, NJ. Students also work part time or on an internship basis.
Tom Blundell is the General Manager of the Hyatt Hotel in Morristown, and sees the program as a winner for both students and the hotel. . “Exposing students who have an interest in the hospitality industry to the hotel gives us the opportunity to have a workforce of employees with a sense of our business before they pursue a hotel career.”
“The program gives them a good idea of daily hotel work so that as new employees, they come to the job with no surprises, ready to take on challenges.” Blundell continued.
He indicated that graduates of other schools take a while to settle in, and are often ‘intimidated’ by upper management like himself, while the students of this program are not afraid to offer ideas and suggestions. Blundell is very excited about the student project part of the program, in which students are asked to tackle specific hotel challenges. Many useful ideas have emerged from this part of the program which the hotel might not otherwise have considered.
Ria Gouvouniotis ’10, Jose Gomez ’09, and Javier Labrada ‘10 were all participants in the Hospitality Program at Montclair State and currently work at Hyatt as a result of the program. Both Ria and Jose have been promoted to the managerial positions within 2 years of employment at Hyatt. Ria is the Front Office Manager and Jose is the Banquet Manager. Most recently, Jose has been selected as "Manager of Year" in Hyatt Morristown's Annual Award Banquet, which is a great accomplishment for a junior manager. The alumni have provided testimonials and reflected on how the program gave them the experience and confidence to pursue their careers with Hyatt. For more information and to view the alumni testimonials, click here.