Left: Joseph Kim holds a Bachelor of Science
in Hospitality Management from the
University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Right: Danial Haddad Bin Roslan is the account and operations manager at Waitrr. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Diversity, particularly at college campuses, can bring about many benefits for its students. For one, they will inevitably develop a global perspective as well as greater self-awareness and creative thinking because of their interaction with different cultures and viewpoints.
Apart from its world-class curriculum, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) prides itself as having a student population that is made up of nationalities from around the world. It is the fourth most diverse university for undergraduates in the United States, with over 60% of its students from ethnic minorities. Within its Harrah College of Hospitality alone, 23% are international students.
Joseph Kim and Danial Haddad Bin Roslan are two of these international students who have benefited immensely from UNLV. They tell us more about their unique learning experience located just blocks away from arguably the greatest hospitality laboratory in the world – The Vegas Strip.
The Obvious Choice
Both Joseph and Danial chose UNLV’s hospitality programme because it is one of the best in the world.
The globally-recognised programme is rooted in industry-based instruction from leading experts in the field, and it provides ample hands-on experience and unprecedented access to internships and mentorship opportunities. Almost everything takes place in its state-of-the-art learning environment, with facilities for every area of hospitality education including kitchens, common spaces and a Centre for Professional golf management.
“I decided to enrol in one of the best hospitality programmes in the world with UNLV, to continue my path in the hospitality industry,” says 36-year-old Joseph, who took up a keen interest in hospitality after stints as a cabin crew and a technology entrepreneur. He has recently graduated, and hopes to join the hospitality industry in the operations side of things.
Joseph continues: “The programme gives students a glimpse into the opportunities and the future the industry can offer. It also allows students to be surrounded by successful people in the industry, which I think is extremely beneficial.”
Case in point: in the course of his studies, Joseph was mentored by Julie Cokotis, Growth Strategy Manager in MGM, a globally-renowned hospitality and gaming company. She gave him invaluable insights into the industry that can never be found in any textbook.
For Danial, his story is similar, yet different. “I was already very interested in the hospitality industry since my polytechnic days, and going to one of the best schools for the subject matter was a no-brainer,” he tells us.
Danial, who has graduated from UNLV, credits the university for helping him enhance his mobile app. He is currently the account and operations manager at Waitrr, a mobile ordering platform for restaurants. Danial studied accounting and finance at UNLV, which helped him in his daily running of the business. Some modules helped shape the features of the app, while the people he met at the university connected him to restaurants and prospective clients.
Beyond Waitrr, Danial is looking to teach, just like one of the people who has inspired him greatly at UNLV.
“Professor Zainal Kassim imparted knowledge to us via his own experiences in the hospitality industry. It was my first time being taught that way and I immediately resonated with that style of teaching. I also liked that he was continuously seeking to upgrade himself as the hospitality industry is extremely dynamic and constantly changing. In fact, I hope to follow in his footsteps to pursue further education and become an educator,” he elaborates.
A Diverse and Inclusive Culture
Joseph and Danial felt welcomed by UNLV’s diverse, accepting student body. UNLV boasts one of the most affirmative and dynamic academic environments in the country.
It is also worth noting there are a wide variety of student organisations at UNLV. Some are ethnicity-based, while others delve in-depth into specific aspects of the hospitality industry. For example, there is the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), which helps any student with Chinese-heritage to acclimatise to the culture and environment.
As Singapore is also a multi-racial country, Joseph took to the UNLV culture like a duck to water. “The diversity of the school has enhanced my college experience,” he says, glowingly. “Immersing myself in this culture has made me a more knowledgeable, thorough, and considerate individual.”
Danial resonated with the enthusiastic and open nature of UNLV: “You are able to freely express your ideas, suggestions and way of thinking without the risk of being judged,” he enthuses. “Because of the environment, the students often graduate with an entrepreneurial mindset and they are more willing to plunge into creating their own company or working at a startup.”
Inculcating a Can-Do Spirit
“Just do it!” Danial advises people who are considering to pursue further studies at UNLV. “It’s an outstanding school with great professors and a conducive learning environment. If you are passionate in the Hospitality Industry, this is a school that you must go to as it opens doors for your future career. I don’t think I have emphasised enough that it has one of the best Hospitality programmes in the world.”
Joseph underscores the point even further. “UNLV has a well-rounded curriculum that has taught me valuable critical thinking skills and helped me articulate my thoughts and expressions better,” he praises.
“With the foundation UNLV has provided, the sky is the limit.”