Auburn Family

The Hotel at Auburn University Gives Students Real-World Experience

The hotel restaurant management major has a special advantage at Auburn University. They have a unique program and a strong relationship with the Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center.

About the Hotel

Horst Schulze, a former CEO of the Ritz-Carlton, originally brought the hotel to Auburn. Once the hotel partnered with the University they continued Schulze’s practices of total quality and luxury in their curriculum according to Martin O’Neill, Head of Department with Auburn University's Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management. (Photo // Alabama Tourism)

The University has had a relationship with the hotel for about 13 years. Having the Hotel at Auburn University so close has other benefits. With such a high-quality staff so close, hotel professionals teach courses, while also employing their students.

Not many schools around the country give students the opportunity to work in their field while attending classes. At Auburn, though, the hotel is mainly employed by students. This gives students real life experience corresponding with their coursework. This is an experience they will need when entering the workforce.  (Photo // Auburn University)

The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center

The Curriculum 

The hotel and restaurant management major are all encompassing. Students have a rigorous curriculum in and out of the classroom.

“Our focus is on teaching the practice of ‘ultra-luxury,” O’Neill says.

In the classroom, students are given a wide variety of courses that allow them to learn the ins and outs of working in the hospitality field. A few courses include hospitality law, food production, hospitality financial management, hospitality information technology, lodging operations and strategic hospitality management.

Along with these courses, students are also required to complete a business minor in order to obtain a well-rounded knowledge of the industry.

Outside of the classroom, students are required to complete 600 hours of relevant hospitality work, a hospitality practicum, student abroad and have a 300-hour internship.

“It is a very hands-on program, which is exactly the kind of experience you need in the hospitality industry,” Joanna Hudgins, senior in hotel restaurant management, says.

Students must complete their 600 hours and practicum before pursuing their internship. The hotel allows for numerous opportunities for students to satisfy these work hours.

The hospitality practicum is a course where students spend three hours a week at The Hotel at Auburn University shadowing employees.

“We dress in hotel uniform and complete work cycles every week for all aspects of the hotel such as banquets, working the front desk, housekeeping, and others,” Hudgins says.

For students who decide to complete their 600 hours at the Hotel at Auburn University, taking a full course load while working is not an issue. Not only is the work schedule flexible, everything you are doing is relevant to your course studies.

“The hotel has been the absolute best place I have worked while in school. Ashley, our assistant front office manager, takes care of the schedule and always makes sure that she accommodates everyone’s school needs” Spenser Harvel, a hotel restaurant management student, and a hotel employee, says.

While many students work at the Hotel at Auburn University, others have chosen to work elsewhere. Students have found relevant work in their hometowns or ventured out to areas around the country and even around the world.

"Hotel restaurant management is a great career choice; you can take this skill set anywhere," O'Neill says.

Experience is one of the most valuable parts of building a resume in order to secure a job in the future. Being a part of the hotel and restaurant management program at Auburn University coupled with being exposed to real-life work experience at an institution with such a high level of luxury and hospitality is a special advantage Auburn students are able to use.  


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