Student Voices: Meet Christopher Reynolds MMH ’21

Christopher Reynolds MMH ’21

Upon graduating with a B.A. from the University of Southern California, Christopher Reynolds MMH ’21 worked as a marketing consultant for a popular New York patisserie—a role that piqued his interest in the culinary arts. He would go on to pursue this passion, receiving a Diplôme de Cuisine from Le Cordon Bleu Paris.

He spent years dedicated to the craft, working his way through kitchens in France, Italy, Spain, and the U.S., during which he played a vital role in operations, menu development, human resources, and financing. All the while, he never abandoned his love for marketing, crafting collateral and consulting for a small company in San Francisco.

Currently, he is pursuing a Master of Management in Hospitality (MMH) to strengthen his administrative abilities and extend his expertise in marketing and branding in hopes of building a career in marketing in the Food and Beverage industry.

Why did you decide to pursue an MMH degree?

I originally wanted to become a restaurateur, but decided to pursue a latent interest in marketing. The MMH provides me an excellent way to leverage my background with that interest to channel it into a new career path.

What career goals will it help you achieve?

I am planning to pursue a marketing career in the F&B [food and beverage] realm, whether CPG [consumer packaged goods] or services.

What aspects of the MMH program do you most value?

I have most enjoyed the fact that the MMH program is flexible and customizable. I decided after gaining entrance into the program that I wanted to pivot careers, and so far, it has been a smooth and enjoyable transition.

What, if anything, surprises you about your virtual classes?

Unlike most of my classmates, I actually find virtual classes enjoyable because you can use your time in between them more efficiently and without having to factor in commuting to campus.

Are you connecting with people and making new friends in spite of virtual classes and social distancing?

Yes. I actually found a group of friends almost immediately within the first week of school and still enjoy their company regularly.

Is there a faculty or staff member that has gone above and beyond to help you? If so, who and how did they help?

Professor Kwortnik and Professor Tracey have both been incredibly generous offering to make introductions for me with alumni or industry experts who I may want to connect with when the time comes to pursue a full-time job. Professor Kwortnik is also hilarious when we Zoom. One time I met him on Zoom to discuss an upcoming memo for his class, and we spent ten digressive minutes talking about 90s punk and ska music.

Did you have any concerns about participating in the MMH program during the pandemic?

I was very upset when I first realized only one of my classes was going to be in person this semester. However, I found that it really did not make a difference on my social life among classmates as long as I made an effort. It’s not as if you would chat with classmates all throughout in person classes and forget a lot of relationships while the professors are lecturing or teaching.

What’s one thing you’ve learned so far from your MMH experience?

I thought the MMH program would help me hone exactly what I wanted to do afterwards. So far, it’s actually made me consider more options than I thought I would.

What have you most enjoyed about being an MMH student so far?

Having grown up in New York City and having only lived in large cities thus far, I have most enjoyed settling into a quieter place, getting to know the Ithaca area, and all it has to offer—whether that means restaurants, wineries, beer gardens, hiking to waterfalls, or kicking back on the grass at Stewart Park.

What words of wisdom do you have for future/current MMH students?

Don’t be scared of virtual classes. After about two weeks, I stopped thinking about them as being virtual and they seemed completely normal to me. The conveniences they bring may surprise you. If you want to make friends and forge relationships, there’s always a way.

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