My students usually ask me at least once during the semester: "I want to go to grad school...What should I do?"


I designed a short 1-page assignment (see below). This exercise forces them to think about the decision-making process which only they can control.


I tell my students that they will have a more meaningful experience in graduate school if they have at least 2-3 years' on-the-job experience.


This is the (optional) assignment I give my students.


Graduate School – to go, or not to go



The more specific your reasons, the easier it is to fill out your application letters.






What is it that you plan to do AFTER you get your graduate degree?






Who is going to recommend you? Why should they recommend you?







Where are the top 3 schools for your chosen field? Don’t think about cost at this time. Look for the best.







Right after graduation vs. after 2-3 years of continuous full-time work. When I went to grad school at Cornell University, there were over 600 candidates the first semester. The retention rate was below 30% (ok, for you pessimists, the FAILURE rate was 70 %!). Why? Many of those who did not stay were fresh graduates from college with little or no on the job experience. Since 80% of the course work was case study and group projects, they could not keep up with the pace of work or the activities which required one to cull group experiences.




How much

If you are at terms with #1-#3, then you can now explore the financial requirements, to include housing, text books, and related living expenses as a graduate student. I survived 5 winters in married student housing, working 3 part time jobs totaling about 30 hours a week. School work required about 30 hours a week. So I was “living” a General Manager’s 60-hour week, but without ANY of the benefits. The chair of my F&B Department hired me as a teaching assistant, plus I did side-work for him on his consulting business; my third part time job was working as the Assistant Circulation Editor for the school magazine (translate that as “jack of all trades” – most clerical work). The benefits? My own office and free access to school resources (typewriter, computer lab, phone, Xerox machine, etc.).


In case you thought I wasn't going to list my "fav" schools, here they are:


My alma mater in Ithaca, New York


Would have loved a teaching stint at the University of Nevada Las Vegas!


This is where Denney Rutherford (editor of Hotel Management and Operations) was teaching in Washington State:


This is where I've been an adjunct faculty member since 1997, at Hawaii Pacific University: