INCENTIVEWISE

Interview with Rachel Richards - recipient of 2023 Academic Scholarship

Can you share a bit more about what you're studying, and where?

I am studying Hospitality Management in the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism at the University of North Texas in Denton. Despite its small size compared to other colleges within the university, it is one of the most powerful colleges the university has. We include Event Management and Design as a major as well and it has now become the fastest-growing major UNT has. Specifically to me, my major focuses on all aspects of hospitality and how to successfully enter the industry with management-level knowledge. Classes such as Hospitality Financial Accounting and Hospitality Law are two examples of foundational classes I am required to take; they teach current and up-to-date practices within the industry. I have truly found such a deeply rooted passion for hospitality through my college and the faculty members - it is an excellent program.

What are you enjoying most about your college experience so far?

What I have enjoyed the most about my college experience thus far has been the numerous opportunities I have had to connect with the faculty and staff of my college. Each professor and staff member is so passionate about the industry and truly wants to see us succeed. The guidance and unwavering encouragement of these hospitality professionals fuels my drive and has been what has made my college experience so memorable.

Do you have a sense of what you'd like to do once you graduate?

Once I graduate, I plan to get accepted into a Manager in Training Program with a luxury 5-star hotel company. Four Seasons has a phenomenal program and the Waldorf Astoria brand, within Hilton, offers exceptionally unique opportunities to grow within their portfolio. With my passion for hospitality and the experiences a hotel can provide, I intend to pursue a career in Sales. I have a competitive nature but view success as a team effort. Over the course of the past few summers during my summer internships, it has become increasingly clear that my heart lies in sales and within the luxury market.

How the SITE community might be able to help you get there?

SITE offers so many unique opportunities to travel, network, and participate in a variety of workshops. Although I have been a member of SITE for a relatively short time, I am regularly amazed by the generosity of spirit and openness of the SITE chapter members. I can see that the mentorship, educational events, and exposure to great venues will help ensure that my professional growth continues, even after I graduate from university.

What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming school year?

One class I am particularly looking forward to is ‘Sales and Marketing’. Having been fortunate enough to spend a little time in the Sales department of a wonderful Four Seasons resort, I am excited to add some academic context to my experience.

Anything else you'd like to share or say as part of a blog feature?

Lastly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the SITE Foundation for making this opportunity available to students such as myself. It will have a significant impact on my life knowing that I can pursue my overwhelming passion for hospitality without being held back due to financial limitations. Additionally, it is such a great encouragement to me personally to see our industry community investing in the next generation, to ensure their success.

Written by

SITE Staff

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