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by Jessica S. McDunn, University Relations

Students at HPU can expect to learn career and life skills, not only in the typical classroom setting, but also by gaining practical knowledge through hands-on experience and testimonials from established business professionals.

A group of human resource management students visited the Ko Olina JW Marriott Ihilani on Oct. 26 and the Sheraton in Waikiki on Nov. 10 to learn about how a multi-national corporation runs from the inside out.

“ Our business partners spend quality time and personnel to host our students and plan activities for them for their field experience,” said Michelle Alarcon, assistant professor of management at HPU. “These companies give our students a tour of their facilities, provide a program around their management practices, and allow our students to meet their key management and staff.”

On the first field trip, the students were welcomed with a presentation by Ihilani general manager Steve Glen, who provided Marriott’s philosophy.

“ If you don’t treat people right, they are not going to stay with you,” he said. “If you treat your employees right, then they will treat the guests right, and the guests will keep coming back.”

This way of thinking hit home with the visiting HPU students. “I feel that this saying goes for both employees and customers,” said Marlene H. Lopes, an entrepreneurial studies sophomore who has lived in Africa and Sweden. “It is important to not lose sight of why your company exists and to always remember to treat those who you work with in an acceptable manner.”

Michael Lanza, a business administration sophomore from Crystal Lake, Ill., said, “First and foremost, business is about people.”

Glen further explained that Marriott’s “success is because of the culture of the company,” and made it specific by having Ihilani human resources manager Jason Furuta show the group a video about the Marriott Corporation.

The students also met HPU alumnus and Ihilani front office manager Sam McArthur, who gave them a rundown of his responsibilities, and they visited a suite from which they were able to view much of the resort’s property and amenities. The walking tour included stops by the concierge, swimming pool, two restaurants, the award-winning spa, banquet pavilion, gift and sundries shops, and human resources office.

“ I have wanted to visit Ko Olina since I moved here,” added Lanza. “The field trip provided me the opportunity to view the property while learning about the management program at Marriott.”
“ Since TIM (travel industry management) is my major,” said Hyuliya Nurhanova Hasanova, a senior from Bulgaria and intern at the Kahala Hotel & Resort, “I was very interested to see how a first class hotel is being run. I learned that one of the ways to achieve success in your business is to keep your employees happy.”

The students said the opportunities that HPU affords, such as site visits, will help them succeed professionally after graduation.

“ I felt that it would be a great opportunity for me to experience the real corporate culture,” said Lopes. “After all, this was what we have been discussing in class.”

The group was welcomed with information packages and a slide show presentation introducing the students to Sheraton’s employee mottos: “Pride in ourselves creates pride in life,” and “I make the difference. I am Sheraton!”

The group walking tour of the hotel’s facilities included its shops, historical artifacts, ballrooms, beachfront, restaurants, and human resources office. The group also met with various hotel employees and managers.

“ Our students were thrilled with the field visits to the Sheraton and Marriott organizations,” added Alarcon. “They learned much about each individual organization’s operation and people management, which greatly enhanced their knowledge of human resource management.


Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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