Developing the full potential
College: it’s an investment in time, finances and a total commitment to learning. As parents, you want to make sure that your student is receiving full value for your investment. The Killington School of Resort Management is not just about classes. It’s also about living in a family situation that immerses the student in day to day learning. Here are some examples of how the RHM Program creates value for your investment.
The approach to learning – putting theory into practice. Whether in medical school or business, it is well understood that most individuals develop a higher degree of learning through practice.
In The Killington School of Resort Management, we constantly strive to find ways for the student to put theory into practice. The student makes decisions, in real time with real assets, and then we collectiveley evaluate that student’s performance. The student learns, regardless of whether the outcome of that student’s decision is positive or negative.
The Lodge – living in a learning environment
The Lodge is more than just our RHM residence hall. The students live and work together, developing peer and social skills, as well as understanding the dynamics of a team environment. The students make decisions on everything from fuel oil contracts for the building and strategies for reducing KWH to managing their terrain park outside (The Jib Yard). In the Food & Beverage course, student teams plan, prepare, execute and evaluate lunches for The Lodge residents.
We expect the RHM student to get a first hand appreciation for facilities maintenance. There are room inspections for repairs and maintenance decisions. A work order system is in place for student room repairs and requisitions need to be submitted before the students are resupplied with everything from cleaning supplies to toilet paper, batteries, CFLs and Kleenex.
In addition, by living on the Killington access road, the students witness first hand all the intricacies of this seasonal business, and how to manage in challenging times.
Mentoring, development and the RHM Review Board
At the end of the day, it’s about helping each student maximize individual potential. That’s part of the reason that we keep the enrollment to a manageable size (50-60 students), so that we can get to know the students and help them develop. As the students matriculate through the program, the student is given numerous opportunities to take on leadership roles at Killington as well as in The Lodge and RHM Program. These are real positions, with real employees, budgets and outcomes.
All the way through this process, the KSRM faculty and Killington supervisors are giving feedback to the student. This process culminates in the RHM Review Board each spring. It is here where the student is evaluated for strengths and weaknesses and we collectively come up with a game plan to help make the student stronger for the following year.
One of the advantages of The Lodge, and being located in Killington, is the ability for the KSRM to mirror those activities that take place in the industry. The students manage and staff six teams that duplicate industry practices.
Some RHM team activities
- Events team: Tricks ‘n Treats Rail Jam IV,BBQ and casino nights,paintball at Whaleback, RHM Graduation
- Ambassadors team: 27 student visits,13 student over-nights at The Lodge, 3 open houses, availability to host prospective students
- The Park Crew:Installed a hitching post, donated by Burton, built new features, instituted a “park pass” education system, managed and maintained the “Jib Yard”, produced a video
- Sustainability team: Installed CFLs in The Lodge, thermal wrapped all heating and plumbing analyzed CO2 footprint of the RHM program,performed an analysis for window replacement at The Lodge, instituted a recycling program for The Lodge and Highridge
- Web Site and Marketing team: Established intranet communication and RHM forms via the College’s “MyGMC” infrastructure,coordinated photos, news/events, student profiles, templates for work orders, requisition systems at The Lodge
- Community Relations team: Hay bale sculpture (RHM Beaver in Tuxedo), Christmas tree exhibit at The Grand Hotel
The Lodge – Assistant Managers
The three students who are chosen for the Asst. Manager position at The Lodge are more than just “RAs” for the building. They play an integral role in seeing that The Lodge is a living and learning laboratory for the RHM Program.
RHM Exec Board and staff meetings
Students who are chosen as team managers and assistant managers at The Lodge attend a bi-weekly meeting with the RHM faculty and full time staff. These meetings are modeled after an executive committee or department head meeting normally found in the industry. The student managers will report on their area of responsibility as well as contribute and design the overall strategy and direction of the RHM program.
A robust resume of significant work history at recognized properties
In addition to all the curricular activities, the opportunities afforded through the student teams, and the real time projects found in the courses, the students have ample resort and hospitality industry experience.
By the time the KSRM student graduates in 3 years, that student will have had at least 3 and probably 4 or more lengthy job experiences with our educational partner, the Killington/Pico Resort, plus an internship at another property.
In addition, most students are cross trained for multiple positions at Killington so that they might help out during the slower shoulder seasons. Over half of our students work continuously throughout the year in nearby businesses, so you can only imagine how robust the student’s resume is upon graduation.
The bottom line: developing leadership skills
We have no illusions that all our students are going to retire from the resort and hospitality industry, or even stay in the industry long term. At the core of the program is leadership development and enhancing the student’s decision making ability. Many of our graduates have gone on to successful careers in the resort and hospitality industry such as events planner for a major college, rooms division manager, food & beverage director, lifts and tickets managers at a major ski areas, and mountain operations director.
But recognize that the skills and development learned in the KSRM are easily transferrable to business in general. Some of our other alumni are a commercial real estate manager, human resource recruiter for a major retail chain, marketing director for a furniture company, internet sales manager for a national mountain sports outfitter, and a plant manager for a precious metals company. Some of our graduates have gone off to start their own businesses as well in retail sporting goods, B&Bs and health foods.