Your Hart School education takes you beyond the classroom and gives you the chance to experience learning through action. While the destinations and events change, every semester brings new opportunities to learn from experts - and by doing. Two of our frequent field experience trips are below:

  • Learn about the connections between the grape and the soil and vine in the Napa and Sonoma Wine and Culture course. You’ll meet winery owners and managers while learning about sustainability and tourism and how marketing strategies work nationally.
  • Attend the International Hotel, Motel and Restaurant Show in New York City. This is the worlds’ largest showcase and exchange of industry products, trends and developments, attracting every segment and facet of the industry.

And other recent hands-on experience opportunities included:

  • Hotel Madison & Shenandoah Valley Conference Center, working part-time in a variety of departments
  • PGA Tour BMW Championship, serving as hospitality venue captains
  • Torchy’s Tacos Operators Conference, working on the event management team
  • Le Gourmet Fundraising Events, assisting event coordinators
  • California Pizza Kitchen Operators Conference, supporting the event management team

Your experiential learning begins right on campus with the Hotel Madison, regarded as a premier destination for Virginia business and leisure travel. You can gain practical knowledge and a head start in the industry through shadowing employees, manager-in-training programs, internships, working events and research.

A Hart School graduate has a competitive advantage by completing over 1,000 hours of professional work experience. Included in this learn-by-doing approach are two required externships, (1) working on campus with Aramark in a paid position and (2) planning a special event in the community. In addition, during their junior and senior years, all Hart HM majors complete two internships. This minimum of 200 hours of work experience per internship provides students with in-depth learning of what it takes to succeed to become world-class business leaders.

During their internship, students meet in class with faculty and industry leaders to examine what they observed and experienced in the workplace.  This reflection creates best practices and a cornerstone for the student's long-term success.

Recent internships have included:

  • Cosmos Club
  • The Blackburn Inn
  • the Greenbriar Inn
  • The Army Navy Country Club
  • Salamander Resort
  • Hotel Madison
  • Daly Seven Inc
  • PC Events and Experiences
  • Loews Hotels & Co.
  • Torchy's Tacos
  • The Hotel Hershey
  • The Walt Disney World Company
  • Aramark
  • Sulgrave Club

To learn more check out the internships and practicums page.

As a future hospitality leader, you’ll need to know how to gather and analyze data to help make the best possible decisions for your clients and company. Our Research Experience for Undergraduates program will help you learn the process of conducting independent research in the business disciplines. 

As an undergraduate research assistant, you’ll make valuable connections with JMU faculty as you collaborate on research topics of mutual interest, learning a wide range of research skills such as reviewing literature, developing surveys, collecting and cleaning data, and analyzing results. These experiences may also give you a competitive edge in applying for graduate school.

For many students, the time spent studying abroad is one of the most significant periods in their academic studies. Long afterward they continue to discover that the immersive experience of another culture pays dividends throughout their lives as they navigate new social and global career environments.

Through the Center for Global Engagement, you’ll be able to take advantage of specific HM international programs in places like Australia, Mexico and Italy. 

What our students say...

Natalie Beiro - HM alumna "The Hart School is truly a family. The support and encouragement I received from not only the faculty and staff but from my fellow students gave me the confidence to pursue my goals. These relationships still exist today, years after graduation, and push me towards both personal and professional success."

Natalie (Street) Beiro '12
Sales Manager, Mandarin Orientel Hotel, DC

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