What is a “Hotelie”?

As a transfer sophomore to the Hotel School, I entered with the hope of accomplishing two dreams: becoming a master sommelier, and working at the Statler Hotel. These dreams reflected my fundamental beliefs of what a “Hotelie” encompasses: well-rounded in hospitality, effortlessly cultured in all aspects of operations, and of course having extremely relevant work experience.

Though I have yet to accomplish either, I was able to join the HEC Wines Team and now work at the Office of External Affairs and Alumni Development.

Undeniably one of the most quintessential experiences of the Hotel School, HEC instantly drew me in. I decided to join the wines team with the notion I would become more knowledgeable of wines. I then attended weekly meetings and trained to participate in HEC 92. However, I learned much more than just about wines. Over the duration of the event, the hours were long, but I somehow walked away each night with a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment. Examining wines glasses for specks was not just for the sake of doing so, but optimizing the experience of attendees. Pouring wine at just the right angle not only looked good, but ensured that the guest could see the bottle. Discussing with various guests which wine I recommended was not a test of wine knowledge, but an enjoyable conversation about wine preference.

I stepped away from the experience being able to appreciate the synergy of working in a team, interacting with guests and alumni, and observe the coordination of a large, entirely student run event.

I also came to the realization that this desire to work towards hospitable excellence, applied to all my team members, and that this incredible energy was very much a Hotelie trait. This came to apply also to my current job at the Office of Alumni Development. As an assistant I help organize the data of events such as HEC. While working I utilize skills learned at the Hotel School to ensure that data is properly recorded and inputted, at times I also perform tasks such as mailing out parcels. Such tasks require attention to detail, and I find myself enjoying my work due to the positive energy that surrounds me as I walk into the office.

Though these two experiences may differ in context, I found similarities in the synergy that I experienced. It was never a singular sense of motivation, but a team ethic that emanated from every individual that I worked with. From these vastly differing experiences I can confidently say being a Hotelie is not just about type of work that is done, but the insatiable desire for excellence regarding all commitments.

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© 2020 by Nicholas Lu, Moira Yi, Jacqueline Chen & AJ Mackey

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