Senior Hospitality Management Students Execute “Bulldogs to Business” Conference

What do you do when you have over thirty professionals from the Hospitality Industry travelling from many corners of the country that represent all facets of the industry to your campus for a meeting? This is how we tapped into these individuals and created a model that benefited all.

Seniors enrolled in the HSMG 401 Event Management course taught by Professor Amy Dorey, were presented with the opportunity of planning a conference that would benefit both students and Advisory Board members of the Hospitality Management program. These seniors eagerly accepted the challenge and worked diligently to learn about each Advisory Board attendee and potential topics that would be discussed during this event.

The conference took place at Ferris State’s University Center on Friday, October 14th, 2016. The senior Student Ambassadors warmly greeted the Advisory Board attendees and began their morning with personal tours of the conference’s format. Approximately 130 students dressed in professional business attire gathered as President David Eisler welcomed all in attendance to the first-annual “Bulldogs to Business” Conference. Julie Doyle, Coordinator of the Hospitality Management Program, introduced each Advisory Board member of which many are alumni, and explained that this conference gave them the perfect opportunity to “give back” and share their knowledge and experiences with the students.

The morning conference format offered students with three different options that were running simultaneously.

Mock interviews and resume critiques were available for students, with priority given to the seniors that expected to graduate.

Round table discussions were also offered and encouraged students to participate in the conversations relevant to the field with topics such as “Life in Vegas – Hotel Capital of the World,” “Women of Leadership,” and “Orchestration of High Profile Events” among several others.

The last option was to attend a presentation that allowed the Advisory Board member to discuss their topic of choice to their audience. Presentation topics included: “You, Your Future, and Your Career,” “How to Stand Out in a Crowded Candidate Field,” and “Celebrities & VIP’s: Handling the Unexpected, the Ego’s, and the Discretion,” to name a few.

The ultimate goal for the “Bulldogs to Business” Conference was to allow the Hospitality Advisory Board members to network and connect with the hospitality management students and provide them with guidance throughout their pursuance of their academic careers. This real-life event gave students a chance to engage in interactive learning from start to finish. In the afternoon, the annual Hospitality Advisory Board meeting took place. As previously mentioned, the success of the event and this new model has encouraged the Hospitality Management program to continue this initiative annually.