“This program is for those who are truly passionate about becoming industry leaders in new and exciting ways.”
What led you to consider a future in food business? What are your future plans?
I developed a passion for the hospitality industry back in high school. I want to continue to explore what this wonderful field has to offer and grow right along with it. I am happiest when working hard to help bring joy to others; a building block that I believe the hospitality industry is shaped around. I want to help influence how people view our field.
My future plans are based on growth. I am looking to test my own limits while teaching and guiding those just starting in the business. This can take the form of developing a small company into a large company or carving out a name for myself in an entrepreneurial space.
How will your previous experience (food or otherwise) contribute to your future plans?
I thrive in a people-oriented environment. My past experiences have been largely management-based in all shapes of the food industry. I want to continue developing my ability to bring the same joy to others that I get from this demanding field. I will take these skills and an affinity towards an educational environment to expand my sphere of influence.
What attracted you to this particular master’s degree program?
I believe that any student needs interest in order to be successful. That is one of the reasons I launched myself into the hospitality industry at a young age; I was not particularly interested in “traditional” school. I applied myself towards technical school in parallel with high school. Then came CIA, which was a great fit. After graduation, I had no strong desire to continue on for a higher-level degree. I knew if I were going to commit the time, effort, and money to pursuing education again, it needed to be right. Enter CIA MPS. I was intimately familiar with the extremely high standards the Culinary Institute upholds. I knew if they finally decided to put their name to a graduate-level degree, it was going to be right for me.
What do you like best about the program so far?
I believe the interaction among the members of the cohort has been immensely beneficial. I was skeptical, to say the least, about having classes built around interaction of busy industry professionals. In fact, it has become a highlight of the program.
The in-person residency aspect of the program lays excellent groundwork to develop real relationships between classmates. It helps establish a rapport and a certain level of comfort that allows for free expression of ideas and authentic critique of concepts. Couple the peer-to-peer interaction with the blend of “amuse bouche” for academic programs and I would say that my classmates and I found real value in the residency. It certainly has us excited for additional meetups.
What advice would you give to someone considering this program?
Jump right in! Considering graduate-level courses is no small undertaking. For the individuals who seriously see additional education as their future plans, or for people who were bit by the inspiration bug, the program will yield results far beyond what you can originally imagine. Realize though, that graduate-level courses require a significant amount of time and energy to complete and do well in. This program is for those who are truly passionate about becoming industry leaders in new and exciting ways.
Many of our faculty are industry professionals. Have you found this a benefit of the program?
Knowledge gained from fieldwork takes on a certain authenticity that a purely academic setting cannot match. For a field that is as hands-on as ours, it has definitely been a benefit to have industry professionals lead instruction. This is so successful because that instruction is also paired with faculty with a firm grasp on what is needed in an educational setting. A degree from the Culinary Institute of America could not be all one or the other. CIA strives to embody a blend of industry experience and academic savvy, so having a faculty composed of just that is indeed a plus.
Managing time and balancing career/studies is challenging. Have you found the instructors and staff supportive and helpful when facing these challenges?
As it so happens, I lived through a business school case study (ownership change where I work) through our first semester and subsequently had the joyful experience of my wife giving birth to our second child during the second semester of school! The instructors and support staff have been understanding and helpful through the entire process. The key to success through the struggles is clear and timely communication. Any obstacle we faced could be overcome by asking for help. That help comes in the form of additional lessons, peer evaluation, and an acceptance of the fact that life happens and needs to be accommodated.
It is important to know that, aside from the program’s rigor, the MPS in food business also establishes a strong growth and empowerment network. The group’s goal is achieving individual success that will bring our industry to the next level.