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Two interviewers interviewing  a student at the School of Hospitality Management's Focus Fair.

The School of Hospitality Management’s professional experience requirement prepares students for management-level employment. This requirement is designed to provide students with experience that complements their classroom learning and affords them the opportunity to apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Professional experience provides knowledge about the hospitality industry, the chance to learn new skills, and a means to assess strengths and areas for development.

We encourage students to think carefully about their career goals and plan professional experiences to best prepare them for the job they would like to have at graduation. They are encouraged to consider the following questions:

  • What types of professional experience should I pursue now and throughout college to best prepare me for the career path I desire?
  • How will future experiences complement and build upon the experience I already have?
  • Do my jobs increase in challenge, variety, and responsibility? Is there a progression in the experiences I pursue?

Students with the highest quality experiences are best prepared for post-graduate employment and receive the most competitive job offers. Typically, broader and deeper experiences are preferable. For example, a position in which students rotate through multiple positions and learning opportunities will provide better preparation than any single job. Similarly, a position with supervisory responsibilities will be valued more highly by potential employers.

Each student comes to Penn State with different employment histories. Many students have already gained extensive professional experience that will qualify them for higher-level positions. Students who have limited or no professional experience should expect to begin their employment in lower-level jobs and use these experiences as stepping stones to higher-level opportunities.