Putting it All Together: A Look Into Capstone
Long considered one of the most challenging courses in the HTM curriculum, Resort Development: Capstone I and II truly put students’ knowledge of the hospitality and tourism industry to the test by giving them consulting experiences with a diverse set of clients from the for-profit, not-for-profit and governmental sectors. While traditional assignments such as essays and exam are a part of the class, the focus of the course is on working with actual clients. Dr. Mills teaches Capstone I while Professor Mary Miller teaches Capstone II.
For the 2015-2016 academic year the students are working with the local ShopRite chain on their new Milford CT store; the City of West Haven; and Dance Unlimited Studios, as well as planning and executing the Love is a Full Plate Event for End Hunger CT!
The students form two companies and compete against each other to see who will make the most effective pitch and suggestions to the company. Students must prepare presentations for each client, hopefully convincing them that they are the best team for the task on hand. Students must prove themselves by providing the most efficient and sustainable solutions, while still keeping what the client wants and is looking for, in mind.
The two teams in the 2015-2016 class consist of Kevin Baranowski, Myles Brown, Devonte Morciglio, Sthefanie Velez, Reilley McGee, Samantha Feroce, and James Brogan for team Apex Consulting & Events, and Ryan Lynch, Ryan Gordon, Alexandria Hryszko, Kelly Blank, Victoria Rozumek, Axel Beyer, and Thomas Miller for team Alpha Incorporated.
Alpha Incorporated took the prize for the West Haven Tourism Project with their brilliant fundraising ideas and creation of a billboard, to go up on I-95. Apex Consulting and Events took the prize for calculating the return on investment and creative solutions for Dance Unlimited Studios to expand its recital and programming and for proposing the best theme and ideas for End Hunger CT! Benefit. Not to be out done, Alpha Inc. resurged winning the first round market research presentation to Shop Rite owner, Harry Garafalo. Tied with 2 wins each, spring 2016, will determine which company ultimately wins the most contracts.
Although the course is tough and takes a lot of time and effort from everyone involved, students are glad for the opportunity to refine all necessary skills to enter the business world successfully. Ryan Lynch, a team member from Alpha Incorporated, had to say just that. “This semester I have been fortunate enough to work with several professional clients in varying fields and gain real world experience through my capstone class. This class allows me the opportunity to make mistakes now so I can learn from them and not make them in the work place.” After being asked what he’s learn so far from this experience, he replied, “… this class reaches far outside of scholastic means and teaches me things I can apply to my day-to-day life as well as my future career. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is time management. Having several projects to do at once can be overwhelming at first but with good time management skills I’ve learned how to effectively and efficiently complete the tasks at hand.”
Devonte Morciglio, from team Apex Consulting, had a similar comments, “Capstone is a very intensive course that helps shape it’s students into business professionals. This semester we have worked with four different clients in four different fields, performing arts, local government, a franchise business, and a charity organization. ” When asked what is the biggest thing he thinks he’s learned so far from the experience, he replied, “… to look past the obvious and really focus on the details and impacts of the changes we are making.”