Cal Poly Pomona’s Collins College of Hospitality Management was named one of the top 10 best schools for hospitality and hotel management in the world for 2022 by CEOWORLD Magazine, in their rankings released last month.
Despite the big hit that the hospitality and hotel management industry took during the pandemic, the Collins College was able to demonstrate that their foundation in building relationships and networking continues to put them on the map.
The college prides itself in preparing its students by teaching them the skills and providing them with a network of alumni and companies within the hospitality industry that make it easier for them to obtain jobs and market themselves into their career goals.
Sean Mayor, a hospitality and hotel management student, chose Cal Poly Pomona for its hospitality program.
“Many of the CSU’s and some of the UC’s, they offer the hospitality program but they’re within a branch of the school of business; they’re not their own identity, their own school or their own department,” said Mayor. “But when I visited CPP, one of the eight schools is hospitality and management, so when I toured the campus, it was an immediate yes.”
The college hosts events throughout the year to fundraise money for class trips and conferences. It holds silent auctions where industry partners and alumni auction off experiences at their hotels, like two-day stays, and this allows them to keep the program engaged outside of the classroom.
“These events allow you to get out of the comfort zone and meet hospitality professionals and alumni,” said Mayor. “So when you’re out there almost every week, shaking hands and meeting people, you’re also practicing your elevator pitch, networking and that allowed me to better myself when it came to interviews and going to conferences.”
As a first-year student, Mayor recalled getting involved with the Pineapple Club on campus. The Pineapple Club is specifically for first-year hospitality and hotel management students, and they dedicate their time into preparing their members for work inside the classroom as well as connecting them with different networks.
Anne Lara, advisor for the Pineapple Club, expressed that the college offers a very hands-on industry experience for students.
“The exposure our students get is paramount to their ability to feel successful, so they feel like they have the resources, social networks and social capital to engage in that type of job search,” Lara said. “Also, by giving them concrete skills, like resume writing, interviewing skills, we make sure that once they get into that, they are able to successfully navigate the job search process.”
One of the required courses for every student within Collins College is working for the Kellogg West Hotel. It is completely student-run and this is how the college embraces the polytechnic aspect of the university. Through working within Kellogg, students can see what the behind the scenes of running a hotel looks like, from the front to the back of the house.
Collins College alumnus Drake Rubalcava talked about how his experience now as an alumnus from Cal Poly Pomona paved his path in the hospitality industry. He expressed that because the Collins College is one of the oldest and largest hospitality and hotel management programs in California, it is easily distinguished.
“When you say you’re from Collins College, a lot of the time people will say ‘Oh OK, I can rely on you for a bunch of things.’ That is because we’ve been taught the industry in such a thorough way,” said Rubalcava.
Rubalcava graduated during the COVID-19 pandemic but was able to secure a job within the Kellogg West Hotel as a student development coordinator. He expressed the importance of student-professor relationships, and how within the classroom, little things like keeping their office doors open for students to come in and chat
As the hospitality and hotel management industry is starting to rebound with many COVID-19 regulations being lifted, Rubalcava highlighted that what continues to put Collins College on the map is its connection to the industry through the ambassadors and professors.
“Within Collins, all the professors for the most part in some way, shape or form are either continuing research or they go to trade shows or conferences, and so they are never stagnant as they’re teaching us as young professionals in the industry. There’s never a lapse in learning and I think that really harkens to why Collins college continues to be within the top,” said Rubalcava.