VIP Experiences Give Wildcats Entrée into Private Club Careers

Grigory S. Terentiev ’23, a student at Johnson & Wales University Charlotte Campus, is preparing a presentation for nearly a dozen managers and supervisors at Quail Hollow Club in south Charlotte, North Carolina. Terentiev and three other JWU students, attended the CMAA (Club Management Association of America) World Conference and Business Expo in San Diego in February, where they networked with private club managers from around the world.

He said, “I have an internship at Quail Hollow [private club]. My manager couldn’t go to the conference so I’ve been asked to share what I learned! I am really interested in employee relations and cost control measures. In fact, one of my favorite classes is Professor (Don) Schoffstall’s Food Service Operations.”

Professional experiences like the one Terentiev had at the CMAA are baked into the JWU curriculum. Piyavan Sukalakamala, Ph.D., professor, College of Hospitality Management, takes students in Exploring the Private Club Industry (HOSP2260) and CMAA JWU Chapter students on club tours so they can see firsthand every aspect of club work and club management. “Many students have almost no knowledge of private clubs before taking the private club class. So, only keeping students in the classroom will not provide real-world learning.”

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“I didn’t realize the amazing work atmosphere of private clubs until I started touring them and talking with people,” Terentiev said. “Once I started my internship at Quail, I knew this was the industry where I want to be after graduation.”

Four JWU students in front of CMAA sign at conference

Hospitality students from JWU's Charlotte campus gain professional experience at the 2022 CMAA conference.

Powered by Purpose 2024, JWU’s strategic plan focuses on academics and industry, strengthening the student experience and nurturing an academic culture that embodies discovery, creativity and intellectual curiosity. For students to be able to travel across the country and experience their chosen field of study on a world stage is an extraordinary experience.

“It really motivated me and got me excited for my career,” Avery Kinnaird ’23 recently said. “We networked with other students in CMAA, and we sat in on hospitality presentations. I learned so much from every session and conversation I had!”

“It really motivated me and got me excited for my career.”

Terentiev added, “The last day there was a career fair with representatives from all over the world. You could pick anywhere and talk about jobs or internships. It was exciting. I had a really good time. There were great speakers, student coaching and small group mentors.”

“Avery received a job interview on the spot for Desert Mountain Club in Arizona and Zach Jordan (’22) received a phone interview right after we got back to Charlotte,” Sukalakamala said. “JWU Charlotte has a very high reputation in the private club industry due to the number of prominent alumni working in the industry. Attending this conference every year has provided our students with amazing educational and career advancement opportunities.”

“The sessions I personally attended were about how to make the most out of opportunities to advance your career, how to be a strong leader in times of turbulent change, as well as the basics of labor, food, and beverage costs; all very different but equally important,” Jordan said. “Within a week of the conference being over, I already had two clubs reach out to me wanting to hire me after having seen my resume and meeting me at the conference. Rolling Rock Hunt Club, in Ligonier, Pennsylvania, is going to fly me out to see their club in April in hopes of potentially hiring me in the future. Cherokee Town & Country Club, ranked seventh-best club in the world, also reached out in hopes that I would consider working for them.”

Meanwhile, Terentiev will get even more leadership and hospitality skills during his internship by presenting to his supervisors at Quail Hollow Club. He will gain valuable experience preparing material for his public presentation and the feedback he will certainly receive will improve his speaking skills. “I had a notebook,” he says. “I was literally writing down notes thinking we should implement this or that. I’ll share my thoughts with management during my presentation.”

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