Experiential Learning Paves the Way for a Career in Hospitality Management
After spending her freshman year undeclared at the University of Connecticut, Jamie Mucci ‘18 decided to transfer to Endicott College to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, with an events management concentration. A Danvers-native, Mucci preferred a smaller school that was closer to home.
Mucci made the most of her three years as a Gull by grasping every opportunity that came her way—from summer employment to being a Student Stagiaire. As a result of her internship experience and the connections she made, Mucci had a full-time job offer as operations manager at Misselwood Events before she even walked across the stage at Commencement. Don’t be fooled though, while it’s her first full-time job, it’s one that requires a lot of experience and leadership—a role that had her managing 16 weddings, along with other corporate and social events, just months after receiving her degree.
Here’s what Mucci has to say about the School of Hospitality Management and how it helped shape her career path.
How did you decide on hospitality management?
When I decided to transfer, I was searching for what I wanted to do. I came across Endicott’s School of Hospitality Management online and it seemed to encompass all of my qualities. The hospitality industry is all about getting to know people and customer service, but it’s also about being organized and planning—and I love my checklists and agendas! The program seemed to be a good mix between organization and being creative. The program really sold me on my decision to move back to the North Shore and enroll at Endicott.
What do you consider to be the strengths of the hospitality management?
The faculty is very invested in the students. I was very comfortable going in and talking to any of my professors and they were always available to meet with me. Assistant Professor of Experiential Learning and Internship Coordinator, Mariellen Fidrych, is very involved in making sure students are interning at locations where they want to be—both locally and abroad. She’s there every step of the way, and that goes for all of the professors at Endicott. Even though I graduated, I still visit my former professors and they are genuinely interested in how my career is going and making sure I’m where I want to be.
Where did you intern during your time at Endicott?
Since I transferred after freshman year, I only did two internships during my time at Endicott. The first was at Finz in Salem, Mass. where I worked alongside the event sales coordinator to plan wedding and baby showers, rehearsal dinners, and even a wedding. This was my first opportunity to apply what I learned at Endicott.
My semester-long internship was in the Events Management Department at Boston College. There, I helped plan student events, as well as large galas and dinners. This internship confirmed my interest in the events industry and broadened my experience managing corporate events—but also verified that I wanted to work in weddings.
What were your responsibilities as a Student Stagiaire and how did you land this position?
I was actually the first student to hold the position of Student Stagiaire in the School of Hospitality Management. Operations Manager & Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management, Brendan Cronin, and Operations Coordinator at La Chanterelle, Ryan Blodgett, presented the opportunity to me and I’m so grateful for it. It was originally meant to be for one semester, but when they saw the value of having an upperclassman in this role and how much it benefitted the freshman students, it was turned it into a year-long position.
As the Student Stagiaire, I worked closely with freshmen who were taking service management, culinary arts operations, and events management courses and offered guidance. These courses can cause new students a lot of anxiety and stress and I was someone who they could relate to and feel comfortable coming to with questions—whether it was how to open a wine bottle or carry a tray of food.
How did your education prepare you for a career in hospitality management?
My internship and experiential learning experience helped me gain the confidence I needed to feel comfortable in the events industry—and also narrow in on exactly what it is I wanted to do. The student stagiaire position I held during my senior year was my first managerial position and really allowed me to grow my leadership skills. I was given the responsibility to oversee students, delegate tasks, and it prepared me for my current role as operations manager. I’m in charge of managing the student staff, bartenders, and making sure every event runs smoothly. Without the stagiaire position, I would have had no experience guiding staff.
How did you land your current role at Misselwood Events?
The summer going into my junior year, I worked as a wedding host at Misselwood. It was a student summer employment opportunity that I came across, and since I enjoyed it so much, I worked the same position the following summer. So, when I saw the operations manager position open up during my senior year, I knew I wanted to be at Misselwood full-time and thankfully, it worked out.
Currently, I’m one of three operations managers at Misselwood. I coordinate day-of events—managing the beverage staff, student employees, and ensure every event runs smoothly. During my first summer in this role, I managed 16 weddings and it’s looking like a similar number for this summer.
To learn more about the School of Hospitality Management, visit endicott.edu.
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