High school Hotelies: “It’s Summer College, not Summer Camp!”

For three weeks each summer, 80 high school students from around the world attend Hotel Operations Management: Tactics for Profitability and get a taste of what it is like to be a Hotelie. Many of them hope that their performance in the class will give them a leg up during their college admissions process. This year’s summer program runs June 22 to July 13, and the class typically fills before the May 3 application deadline (the financial aid deadline is April 5).

Hotel Operations Management, one of the most popular courses in Cornell’s Summer College, combines elements from several required first-year courses at the SHA. In this course students learn strategies and techniques to enhance their lifelong business, management, and leadership skills while refining their computer, communication, and analytical skills.

Through presentations, case studies, research, guest speakers, computer simulations, and more, this program introduces students to the hospitality industry, its major players, and the market forces in this competitive field. With the acclaimed CHESS Hotel Simulation each student operates their own virtual 250-room hotel and learns how to maximize a hotel’s revenues and profits while also meeting the needs of their guests and shareholders. Their final deliverable is an analysis of their hotel’s financial information and an operations plan for the future, which is presented in a business report.

“This program provided me with the most challenging, rewarding, and enlightening experience of my life. Reneta and Mark McCarthy are truly outstanding. Their professionalism, knowledge, and enthusiasm made me eager to participate in class and to become excited about the School of Hotel Administration,” said Stefanie Comins, a former Summer College student.

Between them, instructors Reneta and Mark McCarthy have four SHA degrees, twenty years of hospitality operations experience, and an additional thirty years of teaching experience at the SHA.

“During orientation, we tell the students and their parents that this is Summer College, not Summer Camp,” said Reneta. “Our students are in class for six hours a day in addition to two hours of required study hall. We work them hard, but they really get a feel for the School of Hotel Administration. The students who end up matriculating show up as freshmen with a group of friends they met during Summer College.”

You can read more about the Hotel Operations Management course in the fall 2011 issue of Hotelie magazine.