As dean of the School of Hospitality Management at Kendall, my open door policy allows me to interact with students on a daily basis and to keep my finger on the pulse of the topics, concerns, and ideas that are top of mind for future professionals. Without a doubt, students want to maximize their education. The good news is that students can start getting ahead in hospitality immediately. Here’s how:
- Build your network now. Networking happens every day and in every situation—not just during “networking events.” Be open and friendly with people while standing in line for coffee or when you are out with friends on the weekend, not just at work or on campus. Ask questions about someone’s background and share about yours—you never know where you will find connective threads.
- Get involved in associations today. Attending and getting involved in an industry association is a surefire way to build knowledge, skills, and a network. As a student, you can look for discounts that will not be available after graduation. Take a friend!
- Read the news daily. Whether you read the Wall Street Journal, an industry blog, or a current events feed, it is important to stay aware of what is happening in the “real” world. You don’t need to be an expert, but by linking what you learn in class to what is happening in the industry you will be more prepared to enter and interact with others in the industry while networking, during a job interview, or at work.
- Look out for the leaders of tomorrow. And, get to know them. I recently browsed through a Crain’s list of Chicago’s “40 Under 40” and connected with these individuals with an invitation to a campus event I thought would be relevant to their experience. Now I know a few more “up and coming” business leaders in Chicago, and they know me.
I have found these easy ways to get ahead to be incredibly valuable. What has worked for you? How have you taken advantage of your time as a student to get ahead?
Dr. Sue Tinnish is the dean of the School of Hospitality Management at Kendall College.