Facing the Future

Hospitality Management Career Fair provides students with networking and job opportunities


mid smiling faces and firm handshakes, students explored opportunities and gained industry knowledge through the annual Hospitality Management Career Fair.

The Hospitality Management Career Fair attracted recruiters from various aspects of the industry and students in search for internships, part-time and full-time positions. The three-hour event took place in the Columns Ballroom at the Reynolds Alumni Center March 2.

Along with putting on the Career Fair, the program hosted industry panels for two days to provide students with the opportunity to learn about what employers desire and what experience they can start working on now. They held panels for four discipline areas: food and beverage, sports venue management, conferences and events and lodging.

For graduating senior Sam Licata, this is his third time attending the Hospitality Management Career Fair. He took advantage of this opportunity to search for lodging internships and network with professionals in the industry. When looking for jobs, Licata said he looks for a good location, feasible work hours and a fit between his career goals and the position’s opportunities.

“It definitely helps with learning how to communicate with potential employers,” Licata said. “It also helps with teaching you how to market yourself and past experiences. I try to see if the company’s priorities match what I’m looking for and if I’m a good fit for what company is looking for.”

Jordan Roach is a sophomore studying event planning in the program. This was her first career fair within the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, although she attended one before when she was a student within the College of Arts and Sciences. To prepare for the career fair she dressed professionally and updated her resume.

“I’m looking for a part-time job,” Roach said. “I want to find something to do on the side to get more experience working in the hospitality management industry.”

Elena Sapp is a recruiting specialist with HyVee. The grocery store brand is in the process of putting restaurants into some of its stores. Sapp recruited for that expansion as well as part-time and full-time positions for its stores across eight Midwestern states.

“HyVee is very flexible when it comes to students,” Sapp said. “We try to provide them with the hours they are looking for. We offer not only full-time benefits, but part-time as well. We also offer tuition reimbursement, which can be very useful to students coming right out of college.”

Director of Human Resources Tim Combs represented the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. Hyatt and the MU hospitality management program have collaborated for more than 20 years.

“We’ve been very involved with hospitality management at Mizzou and have a long-standing relationship,” Combs said. “We’re always here for the Career Fair.”

Along with interacting with students at the Career Fair, Combs sat on the lodging management panel.

“[The panel] is an opportunity for students to talk to industry advisors about the onboarding process,” Combs said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to share knowledge about what to expect in the working environment.”

Combs said he understands that talking to potential employers can be a nerve-racking experience for college students. His advice to students is to venture outside of their comfort zone and start building relationships with employers now and experiencing the industry first-hand.

“We try to see past that initial nervousness students sometimes have when engaging with potential employers,” Combs said. “When we talk with these students, we are looking for their personality to come through. This is particularly important to Hyatt because we want people who are able to connect and engage with guests.”

FB panel

FB panel

Student moderators pose with Food and Beverage Industry experts. From left: Student moderator Jimmy Rollins, V.P. of Human Resources at Performance Foodservice Ken Lynch, Owner of JAZZ, a Louisiana kitchen, and National Restaurant Association Board Member Vic Allred, Business Development Specialist at Sysco Foodservice Kansas City Jeff Lister, and student moderator Annie Storey.

SVM panel

SVM panel

Sports venue management industry panelists pose with student moderators. Front row from left: Clock and Score Operator for Fox Sports Mark Winters, Assistant Director of Mizzou Athletics Facility Operations and Capital Projects Derek Doolittle, General Manager of St. Louis Football Club Jeremy Alumbaugh and General Manager of Cheifetz Arena Jym Wynkoop. Back row from left: student moderators McKenna Rose and Cecelia Bolin.

Lodging panel

Lodging panel

Student moderators and lodging management industry panelists pose with associate professor Seonghee Cho. Front row from left: Director of Human Resources at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch Tim Combs, CEO at the Tiger Hotel Glyn Laverick, Sales Manager at Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center Bailey Calton and Corporate Director of Training and Development at Lodging Hospitality Management Anne Conway. Back row from left: Associate Professor Seonghee Cho and student moderators.