K-State graduation year: 2015
Degree: B.S. Hospitality Management
Current employer: Hallbrook Country Club
Position: Bar Manager
How many times, if any, did you change your major during college?
I change my major a total of three times. I started with architecture, then went to business, and then finished in hospitality.
It was during the time I had taken off from school which really helped me to decide on which major I wanted to get. I was a line cook for several years and decided maybe that would be the best route to take.
- Hospitality Management Society
- Club Managers Association of America
- Hospitality Student Council
In our major, we actually have to complete three internships with each one progressively getting harder. The 275 level is about learning the facility very broadly, the 375 level was a little more in depth, and the 475 was a lot of work. There were multiple questions that we had to ask to the several different departments as well as doing a job related project to help better the establishment and then a few other things.
Timing was probably the biggest factor. Upon graduation, there is excitement and freedom but my biggest piece of advice is to have a job lined up. I took and externship after my graduation to get some more learning in before going into the full time position. After that, it was about two months before I got a position. Networking is also a key essential. Knowing several people in the different areas of hospitality is critical to moving up in this industry.
I show up in the afternoon around 12:00 or 1:00 to get some office work done. At around 3:00 is when I go and set up bars or stock any bars then need to be refreshed (i.e. banquets, pool bar, main bar, locker room). This take a while and most days I find myself coming in earlier because there never seems to be enough hours in the day.
I enjoy having creativity. I have been able to change a lot of the wines and cocktails on all off our menus. I think the best thing that has happened was tequila tasting that I hosted. It was a huge hit and people have been asking for more opportunities as such.
The hours are the most difficult thing. Hospitality is no joke when the regular minimum work week is 50 hours. I find myself working about 60 or more on average with the late nights.
Do not be afraid to ask questions and voice your opinion. The worst that can happen is that someone will say NO. I would also make sure that they understand the hours before acceptance of a job. If you are not really a night person then do not be persuaded into working nights.
I started with a culinary background and eventually wanted to move forward and learn more about the restaurant world. I never thought I would see myself working at a private club.
Bar management is completely different than what I had expected. Having that culinary background (pastry heavy) goes hand in hand with the creativity for a bar. Being able to make a great cocktail takes patience, ingredients, and balance (just like with new pastries).
The late hours definitely have an effect on my relationship. I am still closing most of the time and she has more of a 10-6 position. The exception is that we both get every Monday off (club standard) so we make the best of it on Mondays. Its difficult because we are getting married this fall and still have a lot of planning to do.
Joining as many clubs and being as involved as possible. It was very beneficial for the long run because I have so many connections that are not hospitality related so if I decided on a lifestyle change I would have that opportunity.
Take some of the trips that clubs go on. I tried to do as many as I could afford. Yes it was hard, but it was well worth it. I was able to travel to NYC, Chicago, San Diego, and San Antonio for conferences. These are huge opportunities to network and start getting your name out there. Without these, I would not have come as far as I have. I would also say, take the hospitality direct trip out of the country. Going to Ireland was one of the best things that I have ever done and I would go back in a heartbeat.
My favorite class was the advanced wines class. You have to be 21 which limits this to basically seniors and the class fills up fast since it has got no ties with any program. Any student can take this class. There was two students out of the 15 allowed that were actually in hospitality and the others wanted to take it because who doesn’t love wine.
There is no one person who had a huge impact. Truth is that all of my teachers, advisors, and even the dean had a huge impact on my life. I still try to keep in touch with all of them as they are the ones that truly helped me achieve what I have today.
I feel like I learned everything that I needed to in the time that I was there. If there was something I did not know or learn I would have to say that it was my own fault. All of the resources are there so I still feel like I got what I needed.
Some of them yes but in any major, all it takes is a phone call and you can reconnect with somebody.