Two-day Career Fair Draws Global Hospitality Business Companies

There are many reasons graduates of The School of Hospitality Business enjoy a 94% placement rate. CAREER EXPO is one of them.

The 37th annual Hospitality Business professional development, career fair, and interviewing extravaganza, held November 2 – 3, hosted 79 companies and nearly 200 recruiters from across the nation and from every segment of the industry. Each was seeking interns and graduates with that famous Spartan work ethic.

With this year’s theme “Build Your Future,” CAREER EXPO XXXVII offered ten professional development programs throughout the day on Tuesday, most presented by recruiters and alumni. Topics ranged from the use of technology in recruiting and interviewing to how companies give back to their communities.

Also of note, The School and its students honored InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) as Industry Partner of the Year, with Vice President of Sales and Operations Jimmy Taylor serving as CAREER EXPO keynote speaker.

The evening featured the career fair from 5:30-8:30 pm, with recruiters filling all three Big Ten Rooms of the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, meeting students and arranging for interviews. Over 854 interviews were scheduled throughout the day on Wednesday in Spartan Stadium in rooms overlooking the MSU football field.

“It’s about connections, and it’s about preparation,” says Authella Collins Hawks, director of The School’s Student and Industry Resource Center (SIRC), which, together with a student executive board, implements CAREER EXPO each year. “Over many years, we have built relationships with some of the premier companies in the world of hospitality. We also continue to grow, adding 16 new companies this year. All want to return because our students are well-prepared, enthusiastic, and hardworking, adding value to wherever they work.”

Indeed, IHG is a company with a long and fruitful relationship with The School. The company has consistently recruited and hired School graduates and its executives serve on The School’s Alumni Association Board of Directors – including Alumni Association President Chuck Day (BA ’91).

The company’s international presence, particularly in China, has been helpful to Broad College professors and students doing research and career exploration in that area. IHG executives mentor students through the Spartan Sponsors Mentor Program, and they come to campus to speak in the classroom and recruit interns and graduates. The company and its colleagues throughout the industry have donated generously to The School. In 2014, Kirk Kinsell, former president of The Americas for IHG, was named The School’s Industry Leader of the Year at The School’s Celebration of Leadership in New York City.

In his keynote address Jimmy Taylor emphasized his five “A’s” for being a successful leader in the hospitality industry, saying, “You must be approachable, accessible, possess a good attitude, maintain authenticity, and be accountable.”

Ms. Collins Hawks told the students after the event, “Recruiters praised you for your professionalism, business knowledge, involvement in clubs and activities, and professional dress.” She also gave a sincere “Thank you” to CAREER EXPO CEO Emma Dekker (BA ’16) and the entire Executive Board “who worked so hard on behalf of our students.”

Emma was gracious, saying, “CAREER EXPO XXXVII exceeded our expectations. Our goal was to continue the long legacy of placing students with outstanding companies – companies that know where to come for the best and brightest.”

CAREER EXPO is but one example of the ways in which students in The School have an edge in the industry. The business-based curriculum, strong in operations and management, asset development, and Thinking Like the Owner, forms the foundation. In many other ways, The School educates its students for success:

  • Travel scholarships assist student travel to industry conferences and professional development programs around the country.
  • Two 400-hour internships with increasing managerial responsibility are required of each student. SIRC not only helps students find the right internships, but also oversees their completion.
  • Companies from around the world recruit students throughout the year, both online and through individual company visits and open houses to The
  • An extraordinary alumni and faculty presence in the industry and dedication to The School connect students to companies and opportunities across the globe.
  • Almost a dozen industry-associated clubs and three major events in The School provide leadership opportunities and broad networking access to students.