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Hospitality Management Frequently Asked Questions


HM Admission Requirements

 Are there any Admission requirements to keep in mind?

No, there are none. Students interested in Hospitality Management should declare the Hospitality Management major when they register for Orientation.

Minor in General Business

 Is the General Business Minor required for all Hospitality majors?

Yes, successful completion of the General Business minor is required for all HM majors in order to graduate.

 Why is a Minor in Business Required?

Feedback received from our alumni and our industry employers/partners makes it clear that the minor in General Business sets our graduates apart from HM students graduating from other institutions and makes them more competitive within the job market.

 What does the General Business Minor entail?

General Business Minor coursework is taught through the JMU’s College of Business (CoB). Students in Hospitality Management must declare the business minor through the College of Business.

General Business Minor Courses:

  • ACTG 244. Accounting for Non-Business Majors (3.00 credits)
  • CIS 204. Computer Information Systems Fundamentals for Non-Business Majors (3.00 credits)
  • ECON 201. Introduction to Microeconomics (3.00 credits)
  • FIN 345. Finance Fundamentals for Non-Business Majors (3.00 credits)
  • MGT 305. Management and Organizational Behavior (3.00 credits)
  • MKTG 380. Principles of Marketing (3.00 credits)

Complementary Majors and Minors

 Can I double-major in Hospitality and another major?

Yes! You can double-major in just about any area but you should make an appointment with your academic advisor to plan and discuss how this could affect your anticipated graduation date. You should expect that an adding a double-major will add at least one additional year to your JMU student experience.

 Which other majors pair well with Hospitality Management as a double-major?

The majors most commonly paired with Hospitality are:

 Which minors pair well with Hospitality Management?

The minors most commonly paired with Hospitality are:

Experiential Learning Opportunities

 What does experiential learning mean?

Experiential learning is a process through which students develop knowledge, skills, and values from experiences outside a traditional classroom setting – this is a hallmark of the Hart School student experience. We value opportunities such as internships, conference attendance, and volunteer experiences in the hospitality industries as a means to expose students to current trends, expand their professional network, and learn more about what they do and don’t like about their chosen field. It’s as important to understand what you DON’T LIKE as it is to discover what you DO LIKE. Experimentation is essential when discovering your professional self, and that starts with learning outside the classroom. 

The Hart School tries, whenever possible, to support our students financially in their experiential learning opportunities. We will often cover conference registration fees, flights and hotels to make these opportunities financially feasible for all students. 

Some experiential trips are extremely low-cost. For example, all of our Hart School student organizations plan site visits to visit companies/employers in locations within a few hours of campus. These day trips are still incredibly beneficial in that they expand students’ industry knowledge and encourage networking with professionals. 

Here's just one of the many trips our HM students experienced in the last year: 

Hospitality Management students work with Onyx Meetings and Events to execute the Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Global Conference (Las Vegas, Nevada)

 

 How are students chosen to attend experiential learning trips?

Students must be in good academic standing and complete an application, often writing short answer essays and obtaining faculty recommendations to support their attendance. Students are chosen based on their classroom participation, ability to communicate well with others and to positively represent the Hart School. Their demonstrated interest in the content area of the experiential trip is also taken into consideration.

Required Industry Experience

 Can you explain the 600-industry hours that I need to obtain before my official for-credit internship?

HM 310 is a pre-requisite course for your HM 402: Supervisory Internship course. You must complete 600 hours of work in the hospitality industry before obtaining your 400-hour internship. This 600-hours completed for your HM 310 course gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the hospitality industry. This is your chance to experience different segments of the industry to better know what you would like to focus on, first in your internship (HM 402) and then in your first professional job after graduating. 

The majority of your 600 hours should be earned during your college career (during the summers and during the academic year). Only 50 hours of experience prior to high school graduation will count, and these must be within the hospitality industry (hotel, restaurant, resort, country club, special event company, or other tourism-related industry). For our purposes, jobs in retail are not considered to be within the hospitality industry, nor are lifeguard or nanny positions. 

About 100 of your industry hours will come from the work you do in HM 212 – Hospitality Prowess. In that class you will work in JMU’s dining halls (Aramark-operated). In addition, the 600-hours can come from unpaid volunteer experiences. As long as the volunteer experience is within the hospitality industry, those hours can be counted toward your total.

Required Hospitality Internship - HM 402

 What does the Hospitality internship (HM 402) entail?

An internship in hospitality is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory gained in the classroom with practical application and skills development within a hospitality setting. The best course is to choose a subset within the Hospitality industry (an aspect of the industry about which you’re interested in learning more and in which you can see yourself working one day) and seek out an internship experience in that area. Begin with the end in mind! Successful internship experiences lead to a strong professional network and even full-time job opportunities.

  • HM 402 is taken the summer after a student’s junior year at JMU. Course prerequisites are HM 310 and HM 312.
  • Minimum of 400 hours (full-time work experience; 40 hours a week for 10 weeks); Start date is flexible (May 7 to June 11); End date (on or before August 25).
  • Internships must be pre-approved by Dr. Reg Foucar-Szocki, HM Internship Coordinator. They must be located at a hotel, restaurant, resort, country club, special event company, or other tourism-related industry. For our purposes, jobs in retail are not considered to be within the hospitality industry, nor are lifeguard or nanny positions.
  • More details are available on our HM Internship Overview page.

 Can I seek out work experience earlier than the summer before my senior year?

Yes! In fact, we encourage younger students (freshmen and sophomores) to seek out as many industry experiences as possible to start building their professional networks and resumes. Part-time jobs and volunteering in your industry are common avenues for gaining experience. These non-credit work/internship experiences will make you look even more qualified when it’s time to apply for your for-credit internship (400-hour industry experience, HM 402) in your junior year at JMU.

 Will this work experience count as my required HM 402 internship class?

No, internship experiences obtained early in your college career will not count for academic credit towards HM 402, the required internship class. Our industry partners agree that obtaining hospitality knowledge through your HM classes will make you more professional and successful in your for-credit internship, so HM 402 has prerequisites (HM 310; HM 312) that you must take before registering for your internship class.

 Are students placed in internships or are they responsible for finding their own experiences?

Students are responsible for researching and obtaining their own individual internship experiences. Though we do not act as an internship placement service, Hart School faculty and staff have strong relationships with hospitality industry employers and professionals, and  regularly leverage these relationships to create opportunities for students. In addition, our dedicated alumni base recruits our students for jobs and internships on a regular basis.

 What resources do you provide to students who are looking for FT/PT employment? What if I’m struggling to find an internship on my own?

Our Professional Development & Employer Engagement Coordinator, Jen Nelson, spends much of her time cultivating relationships with industry employers and works to provide many resources in order to make the internship/job search process as seamless as possible for students, including:

  • The Hart School Career and Internship Fair (offered each October and February)
  • On-campus information sessions by top industry employers
  • Programming on how to search for jobs and internships; resume and cover letter reviews; interviewing best practices
  • Advising appointments are available so students can discuss questions about finding an internship; obtaining more industry experience, etc.
  • Internships, FT/PT jobs, and volunteer/experiential opportunities are posted on the Hart School Career Development Canvas page. Students can log on and search by keyword or can read a weekly summary that’s emailed out.

 Why is an internship required to graduate?

The hospitality industry is competitive, and the differentiator among applicants for a full-time job is often the degree and quality of their work experience. In order to provide this industry experience, particularly the management experience that an internship provides, we require Hart School students to complete an internship.

 Why is HM 402 a for-credit class?

There are both practical and academic components to the HM 402 internship. While the majority of what you will be doing during this time is working with your site agency, you will need to complete the following to obtain class credit:

  • Engage in weekly correspondence with your professor.
  • Complete a weekly journal of hours worked and weekly reflections on hospitality leadership topics.
  • Write papers including a critical analysis, assessment of effective leadership, and reflections on looking back and moving forward.
  • Complete a special mini-management project that is agreed upon by the sponsor and has "real world" benefit to the employer as well as the student.

 Can I complete my internship outside of the United States?

Yes! Students are welcome to seek out internship opportunities abroad, as long as the position meets the specified requirements (listed above). As with any other HM student choosing to intern in the U.S., Dr. Foucar-Szocki must sign-off on this international study abroad experience. In addition, students must have reliable internet access in order to communicate virtually with their professor and complete/submit virtual assignments.

 Is there a JMU Study Abroad program dedicated specifically to internships?

Hart School students can participate in our JMU Internship in Australia program. Students are placed in hotels, restaurants, or local travel agencies around Perth, Australia. Students will have the opportunity to experience hospitality, tourism, and marketing all while working with colleagues from around the world. More information on this program is available on the JMU Study Abroad website.

Study Abroad Opportunities

 What are my study abroad options?

There are many options for HM students to study abroad while earning credits toward your JMU degree, both long-term (whole semester/12 weeks) and short-term (3-6 weeks). Hospitality Management students can choose a study abroad program that offers classes that will fulfill their major requirements (or count as electives in their major), or any program that will allow them to fulfill JMU General Education requirements.

Have More Questions?

 Feel Free to reach out with more questions!

Jen Nelson
Professional Development & Employer Engagement Coordinator
Hart School of Hospitality, Sport & Recreation Management
nelsonjn@jmu.edu 

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