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According to the Guardian University Guide 2015, the University of Sunderland, one of the UK's fastest-growing institutions, was rated fourth for tourism, making it an obvious option for those interested in studying international tourism and hospitality management. Due to the fact that both of this student's parents were company owners and entrepreneurs, he started on the business track at a young age. This student gained a lot of knowledge about managing and operating a company on a daily basis from working in his parents' companies. This student made the decision to enroll in a course where his management experience and interpersonal skills would be most useful because he has always liked both of these tasks. Since becoming a student here, he has met and interacted with students from several different nations which has only added to his learning experience here at UoS. In addition to the reasons stated above, this student loves to travel and visit place that he has never been, which also fits right in with a career in International Tourism and Hospitality Management. The student also enjoyed very much being able to travel to Prague, Czech Republic in his second year, also the field trips to Whitby, York, New Castle, and Sunderland Museum and Gardens were very enjoyable.
There have been many challenges to this student in his time at UoS. The first, and probably the most difficult for this student, was the language barrier. The student was not as proficient in English as he would have liked to have been when he started his studies at UoS. He had great concerns that he would have trouble understanding the material as it was presented, and because of this, he also was concerned about being able to make deadlines for assignments. However, with some practice and getting settled into the routines of UoS, this student has been able to gain confidence in his abilities and do adequately in most areas. One of the most difficult areas that this student has faced in class has been overcoming his reticence in the skill of public speaking. Although this weakness is improving with repetition and gaining confidence, this student still has his doubts about whether this skill will ever come more naturally to him.
Regarding individual performance, it has been this student’s assessment that he has a natural talent for working on his own on individual projects and assignments in class. The student enjoys doing research work and other projects where his natural talents can be used to their fullest potential. Working alone also fits this student’s personal style which was developed over several years in school and other activities. Activities such as looking for books in the library, researching online, asking my lecturers questions and asking for advice, as well as writing big essays and reports from beginning to end in time for the deadline, have all been some of this student’s favorites.
As with all activities in life, this student has discovered that there are aspects which are enjoyable and those which were less than enjoyable. Among the aspects of his studies at UoS, the student relates that his experiences on field trips, especially ones to Whitby, York, and New Castle, were some of the most enjoyable ones he experienced. His involvements in the field trips were enjoyable because the places that he visited were tourist attractions where the history and heritage of the area were both on display. Especially interesting to this student were the monastic ruins of the Whitby Abbey, which are said to have been the inspiration for Bram Stoker to write his novel Dracula. (Visit Whitby), the City of York Wall, a 3.4-kilometer wall around the medieval town, the longest town wall in England (Visit York), and the Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort in New Castle-Gateshead (New Castle-Gateshead), the ruins of a network of Milecastles, barracks, ramparts and forts built by the Roman Empire (Hadrian's Wall Country).
Regarding his in-class studies, this student has enjoyed studying the modules of Hospitality Management, Leadership, and Service Quality because they relate directly to his immediate future goals of becoming manager of a Domino’s Pizza franchise where he has been working for over two years now. This student sees his classwork as a benefit for his occupational choice because of the training in management he has undergone on the job as well as in the classroom. This attitude falls in line with industry specialist who feel that “if the industry is to maximize its economic potential, it could be contended that more managers should have a formal qualification before entering the industry on a full-time basis” (Barron and Maxwell, 1993). With the good though ultimately comes the bad, and therefore this student does have some aspects of his university time which he does not particularly care for, such as his studies in Tourism and Heritage Management which he finds hard to understand as he did the modules on the impact of festivals and events. The student feels that these areas will not benefit him in his future endeavors as he does not plan to go into event management and, he is not interested in being a historic tour guide.
Among some of the most beneficial features of his university time are the skills which he developed and gained while attending class at UoS. The student expresses his desire to be a leader and manager. He relishes the challenges of becoming a leader and manager in the area of conflict management where he believes he can use his listening skills to hear both sides of a dispute and after having done so, render a fair and honest decision on what he believes is the best course of action. These skills should bode well for the student as research indicates that managers in the industry now recognize “the need for a management leadership style rather than a management style of supervision and control” (Raybould and Wilkins, 2005). Some of the skills this student believes he has gained during his time at UoS are, organizational skills, the ability to work as a member of a team, enhancing his listening skills, and improving his communication skills. These skills are in line with other recent graduates of hospitality management courses who believe “human resource skills and liaising with guests as most important” which will play nicely into the students gained skills of teamwork, listening, and communication skills (Raybould and Wilkins, 2005). Some of the skills which this student believes have been enhanced by his studies at UoS have been his ability to be a meticulous problem solver who never hesitates or procrastinates when it comes to work. The student also believes himself to be self-confident, adaptable, honest, and the bearer of a high sense of integrity.
Regarding being a team player and having developed into a more adaptable person, this student believes that when the situation arises, he will be onboard with working with other team members to find workable solutions to any problems which present themselves. He also believes that teamwork is essential to people who work in the hospitality management area because each person has his/her job and each job contributes to the completion of the mission, no matter what that mission is. However, the student realizes that sometimes individual effort will be needed as well and knows that he is confident in being able to work independently toward a team goal or overall work center mission completion.
In looking to the future, this student wishes to remain in his current occupational path of becoming a manager of the Domino’s Pizza franchise where he has been employed for the past two years. He sees this as the best way to further develop his leadership and management skills so that he might take them farther along his employment journey. His ambitions for his future beyond Domino’s entails using his knowledge and his education earned from his time at UoS to apply for employment at some big chain hotels and major hospitality providers. Ultimately, this student aspires to someday taking a risk and opening his own business, perhaps a country inn or other small hospitality-related enterprise. This plan bodes well for the student as recent research shows that small and medium enterprises (SME) are becoming more involved in the hospitality industry. Researcher have recently discovered that “While vacancies among the major recruiters will remain significant ... they will only provide a small minority of the jobs for graduates” (Jameson and Holden, 2000). Whatever business he eventually ends up owning or running, this student has confidence that his life experiences and education will always be the foundation of however his life turns out. Education which began at UoS and culminated with the global experience and education that he will certainly obtain during his working life is sure to propel him to success in whatever enterprise in which he finds himself in the future.
Overall, this student has positioned himself very well to be successful in the International Tourism and Hospitality Management fields. His basic business experience learnt from his childhood involvements in his parents’ business concerns, combined with the experience and education he has obtained since moving to the UK, should bode him well for any future endeavors he sees fit to take on. The student still has weaknesses to overcome but, given his drive, determination, and accomplishments up till now, those are problems which should be quickly solved, or in the very least, managed to his benefit. This student fervently believes that he can be productive in the fields of International Tourism and Hospitality Management and have a fruitful career in these most interesting and challenging areas.
Barron, P. and Maxwell, G., 1993. Hospitality management students' image of the hospitality industry. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 5(5), pp. 4.
Hadrian Wall Country n.d., Hadrian’s Wall, Hadrian’s Wall Country website, Viewed 21 March 2017, http://hadrianswallcountry.co.uk/
Jameson, S.M. and Holden, R., 2000. "Graduateness" - who cares? Graduate identity in small hospitality firms. Education & Training, 42(4), pp. 264-271.
New Castle-Gateshead n.d., Hadrian’s Wall and Housesteads Fort, New Castle-Gateshead website, Viewed 21 March 2017, http://www.newcastlegateshead.com/things-to-do/hadrians-wall-and-housesteads-fort-p733471.
Raybould, M. and Wilkins, H., 2005. Over qualified and under experienced: Turning graduates into hospitality managers. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 17(2), pp. 203-216.
University of Sunderland [UoS] n.d., International Tourism and Hospitality Management, UoS website, Viewed 21 March 2017, https://www.sunderland.ac.uk/study/tourism-hospitality-and-events/undergraduate-tourism-hospitality-management/.
Visit Whitby n.d., Whitby Abbey (English Heritage). Visit Whitby website, Viewed 21 March 2017, http://www.visitwhitby.com/english-heritage-whitby.
Visit York n.d., City of York Walls, Visit York website, Viewed 21 March 2017, http://www.visityork.org/York-City-of-York-Walls/details/?dms=3&venue=3610893&feature=1&groupid=2&catid=12.
Meticulous problem solver
Possesses high integrity
English language deficiency
Inexperienced in public speaking
Somewhat of a loner
Limited real-world experience
Unlimited possibility for growth
Multi-cultural entrepreneurial experience
Ambition to succeed
Youth and strength
Experience in running a business
Limited hands-on experience
Heavy competition by peers
Opportunities for advancement limited by immigration status
Limited positions available in target occupations
Risk of compromise from business failure in the future
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