Brendan Cronin: Leading the Next Generation of Hospitality Professionals

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Master chef, author and assistant professor Brendan Cronin entered the hospitality industry in his native Ireland at age 16 and soon after discovered his passion for traveling – an integral part of his professional experience. After working at top hotels in Europe, Africa and Asia, and teaching at Les Roches School of International Hotel Management in Switzerland, Brendan Cronin came to Endicott College in Beverly in 1995 to teach at the School of Hospitality Management. A recipient of the 2013 Endicott Excellence in Teaching Award, Brendan also earned his master of business administration degree at Endicott. He is a 2018 doctoral candidate at Walden University, where his current area of research concerns reducing hotel employment turnover.

What kind of students enter Endicott’s Hospitality Management program?
We accept approximately 60 hospitality freshmen each year who come from the New England region, from more than 30 states, and some international locations. These students are attracted to Endicott by our strong hospitality course offerings, nationally recognized internship model and broad range of study abroad options. High-level career positions with prestigious organizations require a special blend of professionalism and expertise. That’s where Endicott’s hospitality degree comes in. With our distinct emphasis on experiential learning, our students gain real-world experience in the hospitality industry, along with a valuable foundation in the liberal arts. The result is that our hospitality students develop the interpersonal, professional, and entrepreneurial skills that enable graduates to succeed in managerial and leadership positions after graduation.

In addition to good people skills, what else do students learn in Hospitality Management?
We help our students develop strong people skills and a managerial eye for detail, combined with interpersonal, team building, time management and critical thinking skills – all of which are crucial in today’s competitive world. We also offer hospitality classes in social media, entrepreneurship, marketing, revenue management and property management.

When Endicott students graduate with a degree in Hospitality, how quickly can they enter the workforce and begin their careers?
A unique feature of Endicott’s hotel management degree is the hotel operations practicum where students gain hands-on experience working under the supervision of managers at the Wylie Inn and Conference Center on campus. Hotel marketing, food service and operations are components of this course. Another unique component is our collaboration with the Les Roches School in Switzerland. In conjunction with the Endicott bachelor’s degree, students may study in Switzerland and earn a Swiss Hotel Management Diploma. I am extremely proud of our 24-year collaboration with Les Roches.

Upon completion of the hotel management degree, our students have the necessary global business knowledge to function in important hotel managerial roles. Our hospitality graduates are working across the United States and around the world. In a survey of 761 colleges and universities conducted in conjunction with the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings on student career readiness, Endicott was ranked second nationwide.

Our data indicates that 53% of Endicott students received a career job offer from an internship site or through an internship contact— a tremendous achievement in higher education. 98% of our hospitality management graduates were either employed upon graduation or were enrolled in graduate school. Although many hospitality graduates decide to remain in Boston and New England, our graduates are also working in hotel management positions from Florida to Hawaii and also on every continent.

Tell us about Endicott’s new connections with Cork, Ireland.
Endicott has just developed a new and exciting agreement with the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT). The venture offers study abroad and internship opportunities for students from the eight academic schools at Endicott. Ireland is the only English speaking country in the European Union, and I am very pleased to see Endicott developing a presence in my home country. Cork is a beautiful student-friendly city to live and study in.

Additionally, Endicott will receive students from CIT to study at our Beverly campus. This agreement provides opportunities for faculty exchange, as well – so I look forward to participating in those exchanges. We look forward to sending upwards of 50 students per semester, as the program in Ireland grows. Four percent of our student population is international, representing students from 30 countries. The college currently sends 40% of our students on study abroad, to 30 university partners worldwide, with half being exchange agreements with peer universities. The School of Hospitality Management sends 68% of our students on semester-long studies to hospitality management partner schools in Australia, Greece, Dubai, Italy, and Switzerland.

As an Irish native, what is your idea of a perfect Irish meal to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day season here in Massachusetts?
I will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with my wife and start lunch with some Irish smoked salmon with my own Irish soda bread (using my mother’s recipe from my book) and salted Kerrygold butter, followed by a roast pork loin with caramelized apples, fresh roast root vegetables, and of course a potato – or two! Dessert will be a whiskey trifle followed by Irish coffee and chocolate truffles. After lunch I must decide whether to spend the afternoon on the couch – or walking on the beach. Most likely, the New England weather (that ever-present topic of New England conversation) will dictate!

For more information, contact Endicott College’s School of Hospitality Management.