Plan ahead for your future.
A degree in hotel and restaurant management offers many fulfilling career opportunities, from jobs in wine and spirits to spa management to tourism and gaming. As the world's number-one employer, the hospitality industry has vast options for you. So once you decide what career path you want to pursue, how do you know what courses to take, organizations to join or internships to complete?
Here are some suggestions for each of our areas of emphasis, listed alphabetically. Keep in mind these are only general guidelines—every student has unique goals and options, so be sure and carve a path that works for you. And remember, our faculty, academic advisors and internship and placement directors are always available for questions and guidance. Seek them out and reap the benefits of their experience and industry connections.
- Declare catering or event management as your area of emphasis.
- Get involved with the College's events, like Gourmet Night or Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor. These functions are perfect opportunities to learn all aspects of catering and event management.
- Complete at least one internship in this field, at a catering company or for an event planner, for example. Internships at hotels are good opportunities too because many hotels have catering programs.
- If possible, gain work experience in catering, events or related areas, such as food & beverage service, or wine and spirits.
- Get involved with student organizations like the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE) or Par Excellence, an honors student-managed staffing service at Hilton College.
Country Club Management
- Declare country club management as your area of emphasis.
- Find a country club that interests you and seek out job and internship opportunities early in your college career. Many of these clubs don't actively recruit, so meeting people and gaining real-world experience is important to break into the industry. Build your résumé with diverse job experiences at different clubs—don't just stick to one job at one club, necessarily.
- Internships are important, too. If it's a short-term internship, say for the summer or for one semester, complete an internship that focuses on a particular aspect of club management. If it's a longer internship, it might be a good idea to rotate among different positions at the club. The more varied experience you have, the better.
- Get involved with organizations like the Club Management Association of America (CMAA) or the National Association for Catering and Events (NACE), which will help you meet more people in the industry.
Gaming & Casino Management
- Take gaming courses while a student at Hil ton College, and make gaming and casino management your area of emphasis.
- Sign up for the annual student trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It's very important to visit these cities and get a feel for what work life is really like in the industry before committing to a career in gaming.
- Pursue a casino/gaming internship. Not only are there internships at numerous casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, but there are casinos in 28 states looking for interns. If possible, complete more than one internship.
- In your job and internship experience, become a "generalist"—work in different areas of the casino. Experience in other areas of hospitality, like hotel management, is helpful too because many casinos are in hotels.
- Consider becoming involved in student organizations like the Hotel Management Society (HMS)—this involvement, and leadership experience, will look good on a gaming-related résumé.
- Declare lodging management as your area of emphasis.
- Begin working, even part time, in the lodging industry, as soon as you can. Experience in this field is very important. From front-of-the-house to back-of-the-house jobs, lodging experience will look good on your résumé. Diversifying your experience—gaining skills in several areas of a hotel, for example—is even better.
- Complete at least one internship at a hotel. A rotational internship that allows you to work in several departments will give you valuable hands-on experience in the industry, and make you a better manager in the future.
- Join an organization that appeals to students interested in lodging management, such as the Hotel Management Society (HMS), Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP) or Hotel Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI). Take on a leadership role in the organization at some point in your college career.
- Consider signing up for Hotel Marketing: New York Style. This elective class will give you a chance to visit hotels and network with hotel executives at the annual International Hotel, Motel & Restaurant Show.
- Declare restaurant management as your area of emphasis.
- Work at a restaurant doing anything—serving, hosting or washing dishes, for example. Working in a variety of capacities at a restaurant or multiple restaurants is critical as well. If possible, diversify your experiences—for example, work at a casual-dining and a fine-dining restaurant.
- Volunteer for Hilton College events such as Gourmet Night and the Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor induction ceremony, or community events like the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair. These events will offer numerous opportunities to gain excellent food & beverage management experience.
- Get involved in student organizations such as the Texas Restaurant Association-Cougar Chapter (TRACC) or Par Excellence to make connections and gain leadership experience.
- Complete an internship at a restaurant, working in different capacities.
- Consider signing up for Restaurant Marketing: Chicago Style, an elective class that includes a trip to the National Restaurant Association Show in May. This trip offers important networking opportunities and you'll also learn all about the latest culinary trends and technology.
Sales & Marketing Management
- Declare sales and marketing management as your area of emphasis.
- Pursue an internship (at least one) in this field, in hospitality or other businesses. Diverse experience is important.
- Get involved in organizations like Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International (HSMAI), and pursue leadership roles.
- Declare spa management as your area of emphasis.
- Get involved in organizations like the Houston Spa Association–Student Chapter, and pursue leadership roles.
- As soon as you can, gain some work experience at a spa, in any area—whether it's the front desk, office work or sales and marketing. It will introduce you to this emerging field in hospitality and give you hands-on experience.
- Complete a summer internship. The spa industry has many internship options available, from destination spas to cruise ships and day spas. You'll need two to three internships on your résumé to be competitive for a position at a premier spa.
- Consider earning a certificate in one of the spa modalities, such as massage therapy or esthetics. This certification will give you helpful background knowledge and make you more marketable.
- Declare tourism management as your area of emphasis.
- Learn a second language in high school or college—that skill will offer an important advantage in this field.
- Consider working or taking an internship at a convention and visitors bureau or any attraction in the Houston area, such as a museum, stadium or touring company.
- Spend your summers working or interning at different attractions in other parts of the country or other countries, if possible. It's important to gain a variety of job experiences. The Disney College Program is a good option for students interested in tourism.
- Consider joining Destination Marketing Association International or the Texas Travel Industry Association as a student member, which will help you make critical contacts. Or join and get involved in one of our on-campus student organizations.
Wine & Spirits Management
- Declare wine and spirits management as your area of emphasis.
- Read about wine and go to seminars. Once you turn 21, be sure to attend wine tastings and get a feel for different types of wine and spirits. Learn the terminology.
- Consider pursuing the College's minor in beverage management and marketing, which also requires an internship in the wine and spirits industry. The coursework and internship will really prepare you for a career in this field. Businesses such as Spec's Wine, Spirits & Finer Foods and the Glazer's Family of Companies have internships available for students, for example.
- Get a job at a restaurant or in food & beverage operations at a hotel or other related venue. Gain experience managing beverages, ordering and creating wine lists.
- Join and become active in the Wine & Spirits Management Association (WSMA). This student organization hosts a number of educational events, including vineyard tours, and opens the door to valuable industry contacts.
- Volunteer for events like Gourmet Night and the Sugar Land Wine & Food Affair to gain experience with beverage management.
- Enroll in the California Wine Experience. This five-day trip includes VIP access to wineries in the Sonoma and Napa Valleys, taking you beyond the textbook and into real- world operations.
With these suggested steps, your career once you graduate will be off to a running start!