This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Hospitality Internships as a Career Development Tool: Stakeholder Perceptions and Expectations




Cary, Jona

Type of Degree



Nutrition and Food Science


The purpose of the study is to investigate hospitality internships so that: 1) the internship experience can be strengthened and improved in such a way that students and industry professionals are both receiving benefit, 2) all stakeholder groups may gain a better understanding of hospitality students’ level of preparedness for their internship experience, 3) information is provided to show if an internship experience has an effect on hospitality students’ perspectives of their first job within the hospitality industry, and 4) all stakeholder groups are provided up-to-date information regarding characteristics of hospitality graduates’ first job within the hospitality industry. All stakeholder groups may benefit from this study as they will be provided information regarding characteristics of hospitality internships, perspectives of hospitality students’ pre-internship experience and post-internship experience, and characteristics of hospitality graduates first job within the hospitality industry. This study was limited to industry professionals working in the lodging industry (mailing list was purchased from InFocus Marketing Group), faculty members within the organization CHRIE (Council of Hotel and Restaurant Institutional Education), and students enrolled in four-year colleges. The findings were the following: All four stakeholder groups (pre-internship hospitality students, post-internship hospitality students, faculty, and industry professionals) agreed that internships should be between 11 weeks to 20 weeks, and all four stakeholder groups agreed that interns and industry professionals should meet weekly. Industry professionals believe that interns are not prepared for their internship experiences. Both pre-internship hospitality students and post-internship hospitality students believe that they will be working between 49 hours per week and 64 hours per week. On average, hospitality students have worked between 7 months to 1 year prior to their internship experience. Industry professionals believe that starting salary for a new hospitality graduate is lower than what the students and faculty believe to be an average starting salary. Therefore, students and faculty do not have realistic perspectives of hospitality industry starting salaries.