“We value hospitality students and graduates for their business acumen and especially for their passion for customer service,” observed Isenberg Hospitality & Tourism Management (HTM) alumna Callah Sponheimer ’09 at the department’s 41st Annual Career Day on March 4th. Sponheimer and several others represented her Maryland-based firm, The Bozzuto Group, which manages 200 upscale properties in the northeast. What differentiates HTM students and graduates in the marketplace, she emphasized, is their passion for empathizing and connecting with customers and clients.
Sponheimer’s company was one of 74 at the day-long event, highlighted by a career fair, information sessions with recruiters, and a reception honoring seniors and recruiters. Two to three hundred students from HTM and ten other majors attended in the Campus Center auditorium and adjacent concourse. After the fair, students networked informally with future employers and alumni at a stylish buffet gathering, orchestrated by their HTM classmates at the department’s Marriott Center for Hospitality Management on the top floor of the Campus Center.
The Right Stuff
“Hospitality students are people-people—extroverts trained to handle all sorts of challenges in customer service and operations,” remarked HTM senior Alissa Mendelsohn ’15, who chaired the committee of nine HTM students who coordinated the event. “Look at the variety of recruiters at Career Day; you’ll see that we’re about a lot more than hotels,” she observed. A significant number of hotels—Marriott, Starwood, Intercontinental, Kimpton, Loew’s, and others—did in fact recruit at Career Day. But they were joined by fellow recruiters from a variety of industries—food services (e.g., Unidine), property management (Aspen Square), senior living (BrightView), clubs (Charles River Country Club), and casinos (MGM Springfield).
For Andrea Griesmar, senior vice president of The Shelter Group, parent to Brightview senior living centers, strictly transactional relationships with residents are anathema. “We emphasize a high-touch hospitality approach in long-term relationships with our residents,” she emphasized. That’s where HTM graduates excel, she observed, noting that Brightview offered career opportunities in dining, programming, event planning, and business management.
Another hallmark of Isenberg HTM students is their exceptional work ethic, noted Rebecca Pavao ’11, Assistant Front Office Manager with Loews Boston Hotel. There is no sense of entitlement, she noted, among UMass and Isenberg graduates employed by the iconic hotel, which was the Back Bay Hotel until Loews purchased it in early 2013.
“The students are passionate and well-informed about our business and our industry,” added Nika Selsov ’08, director of housekeeping at the Smyth Hotel in Manhattan’s Tribeca district. The hundred-room hotel is one of many boutique properties owned by the international hotel management company, Commune Hotels and Resorts. Being well-informed, she explained, speaks well for students as future successful employees.
Paul Kruzel, general manager of the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, concurred. “When they present to us, Isenberg’s HTM students are exceedingly well-prepared, extremely polished,” he remarked. “It’s clear that they’ve done their research. And their energy, enthusiasm, and pride in their program are all positives.”
The variety and uptick in recruiting companies (up from 68 last year) at HTM Career Day goes hand in glove with an increasingly vibrant economy, Mendelssohn explained. “Americans,” she said, “have more discretionary income and are traveling more. “This was also the first year where we involved freshmen in the event,” she added. That reflects, she noted, an emphasis at Isenberg on engaging students from all departments in professional development activities as early as possible.
The HTM Career Day Student Committee: Alissa Mendelsohn, Colleen Byrne, Stephanie Colangelo, Brianna Cole, John Conlin, Ashley Hellstrom, Victoria Quill, Michael Quinlan, Erika Zahoruiko
Faculty Advisor: Rod Warnick
Complete List of Registered Companies
ACCOR/Sofitel American Cruise Lines Aspen Square Management Avalon Bay Communities Batali and Bastianich Bertucci's Boston Park Plaza The Bozzuto Group Braathe Enterprises Breakers Palm Beach Brightview Senior Living ** Burtons Grill Canyon Ranch Catania Hospitality Group Charles River Country Club Chatham Bars Inn The Colonnade Hotel Colwen Hotels Commune Hotels & Resorts Corporate Chefs, Inc. Cosi Restaurants *** The Country Club Cranwell Resort, Spa & Golf Club The Culinary Institute of America Dig Inn Seasonal Market Eastward Ho! Country Club Enterprise Rent A Car The Fairmont Copley Plaza
FC USA Inc. Grand Circle Corporation Greenwich Hospitality Greystar Hersha Hospitality Management Hillstone Restaurant Group Horizon Beverage Group Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Insight Global, Inc InterContinental Boston J. Alexander's Restaurants Jasons Deli *** Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants Langham Boston Le Parker Meridien New York Legal Sea Foods, LLC Loews Boston Hotel * Main Street Hospitality March of Dimes Foundation Marriott International *** Mirbeau Inn & Spa MGM Springfield Nantucket Wine Festival Mohegan Sun Newport Hotel Group Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub *** Not Your Average Joe's *** Ocean House & Weekapaug Inn
Ocean Properties, Ltd. Okemo Mountain Resort Park Lodge Hotel Group Pyramid Hotel Group * Sebasco Harbor Resort Seaport Hotel and WTC Shelter Harbor Golf Club Sodexo Sonesta International Spruce Point Inn Starwood Hotels and Resorts Texas Roadhouse Tillinger's Concierge TJX Companies, Inc. Unidine Corporation * UMass Aux Services/Summer Conference Housing Waterford Hotel Group Westchester Country Club Westmoor Club Wequassett Resort and Golf Club Wheatleigh Hotel Wianno Club