KENNESAW, Ga. | Oct 20, 2023
The global hospitality industry is expected to see revenues grow by more than 5 percent by 2027. However, the sector still faces significant staffing shortages. To help address this problem, Kennesaw State University and India’s AURO University are partnering to prepare students to meet the industry’s global talent needs.
Kennesaw State and AURO University recently signed an agreement that will see hospitality management programs at both institutions host faculty and student exchanges throughout the year. These exchanges will provide students in India and the U.S. with valuable international perspectives on the hospitality industry and enhance overall cultural awareness.
“The hospitality industry is global by its very nature,” said Robin Cheramie, dean of the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State. “Almost any organization our students work for will have international guests and clients or will operate in multiple countries. Partnering with AURO means our students will be better able to compete in the global marketplace.”
Leaders from both Universities met on the Kennesaw State campus to sign the memorandum of understanding formalizing their partnership. Dean Cheramie was joined by AURO University’s founder and president H.P. Rama, AURO’s Chief Operating Officer Suresh Mathur, and the director of Kennesaw State’s Hospitality Management program, Leonard Jackson.
AURO University was established in 2011 by Rama, who is also the founding chairman of the Asian American Hotel Owners Association and current chairman of Auro Hotels, which develops a portfolio of more than 37 Hilton, Hyatt, and Marriott locations worldwide. While AURO University offers a full range of degree options, the institution has developed a worldwide reputation for producing quality hospitality industry professionals.
Students in AURO’s hospitality program currently complete a one-year internship in the U.S. as a required part of their studies. The Kennesaw State partnership will see these students spend part of their time in the U.S. at the Kennesaw campus meeting students, working with faculty in the Coles College, and learning about the Metro Atlanta hospitality industry.
During the meeting with Kennesaw State, Rama shared his excitement at both institutions working together on the shared goal of cultivating a high-quality global talent pool in the hospitality industry, adding he was eager for students and faculty from Kennesaw State and Auro to gain not only academic knowledge of the industry, but also a deeper understanding of cross-cultural values and diverse experiences.
The partnership's scope will extended beyond AURO University to include Auro Hotels located in the United States and India, with Kennesaw State students and faculty also visiting those locations. The official start of this collaboration will be in December when Jackson visits Auro’s India campus.
A significant element of the partnership is the launch of a new education abroad experience to India for Spring 2024, where students will visit AURO’s campus in Gujarat, Surat and tour the surrounding area.
“I want this experience to be as much about increasing cultural understanding for our hospitality students and for those at AURO University as it is about becoming better global businesspeople,” said Jackson. “Many hospitality professionals live and work outside their home country. This experience will open students up to opportunities they may not have considered before.”
In addition to student experiences, the agreement includes faculty exchanges. Both institutions are developing virtual and in-person exchanges where faculty will share ideas on how to incorporate global perspectives into their teaching. Also, while the partnership was started to enhance hospitality management education opportunities, AURO and Kennesaw State are interested in expanding the exchanges to include students and faculty in other disciplines as well.
With the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India estimating a skilled worker shortage of 150,000 in the luxury hotel market alone by 2029, and the American Hotel & Lodging Association reporting that 81 percent of hotel owners are unable to fill open positions, the future is bright for enthusiastic, well-trained, and globally focused hospitality professionals. The new partnership between Kennesaw State University and AURO University will position students at both institutions to succeed as leaders in this growing industry.
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