Most college-bound students (and their parents) are hopeful to pursue an academic program that will prepare them for lucrative and meaningful career options. At The Killington School of Resort Management, we constantly strive to find ways for students to put theory into practice, focusing on options that will result in real return on a student's college investment.
We chatted with Amy Laramie, a graduate of The Killington School of Resort Management, and got her take on what it was like to work hard and play hard at GMC.
Tell me a little bit about yourself. What’s your name and hometown?
My name is Amy Laramie. My hometown is Jefferson, New Jersey.
When did you graduate from GMC? What was your major?
I graduated in 2009 with a major in Resort and Hospitality Management.
What drew you to resort management and Killington specifically?
Throughout high school, I worked at a local golf course in New Jersey and taught snowboarding for four years at Mountain Creek in NJ. I absolutely loved being out on the mountain, in nature, and interacting with guests at either the golf course or ski resort.
After taking a few different classes at a local community college, I realized that I really enjoyed working at a resort where people come to have fun. After doing some searching, I came across the major for Resort and Hospitality Management. Honestly, I struggled a bit with making the decision to come to Green Mountain College. I always envisioned myself attending a large college, and Green Mountain - specifically the Killington Campus - is very small. But I knew I enjoyed taking ski trips to Vermont and already liked working at a ski resort, so I accepted!
How did you feel about the 3-year completion approach?
It helped keep me on track – I actually took some time off after high school and tried a few different things prior to transferring into the program in the Spring. Some of my credits transferred over so it allowed me to graduate at the same time as my other high school peers!
What did you do for your required internship? How did it help you grow in your field?
I reached out to the golf course that I worked at in NJ, Bowling Green, to see if they would be interested in me doing my internship with them.
It was helpful because I already knew that I liked working there, but it gave me more of a behind-the-scenes look at the operation. I attended and participated in management meetings, created schedules, worked on inventory, payroll etc. It opened my eyes to the bigger picture of running a business (this one is family owned) and not just the front-of-the-house operations of waiting on tables or checking people in for their tee times.
What was your favorite part about the KSRM program?
Having the hands-on work experience was so incredibly valuable to me (you earn college credit and still come home with a paycheck!). Also, fitting in runs on the mountain and showing up to class in your snowboard boots was pretty neat too!
Who was your favorite KSRM professor? Why?
Every professor really brought different environments to the classroom, but I would have to say it was interesting having management team members from Killington Resort as your professors. They brought their knowledge of the ski industry that they were actively working at day-to-day — to the classroom.
What kind of practical skills did you learn while at GMC?
I really like the required work experience that each student must do. There is only so much you can learn in a classroom, but when you have to apply it in the real world (at a real paying job!), you have a better understanding of why you learned something, and why it is important to show up to work on time. You also see a realistic cause-and-effect of something you did (positive or negative), and you gain a better understanding of being part of a team.
What is an example of how the faculty of KSRM went “the extra mile” to help you in your studies and career goals?
The KSRM staff pushed me to do something different. I came into the program knowing that I love to teach snowboarding, and I thought I would go through this program and come out being the director of a ski school. But the head of school thought differently and challenged me to do something outside of ski school.
After graduating I did not have a full-time job lined up, so I moved back home. Over the summer, calls started coming in informing me of full-time job offerings at Killington! I never thought that the employer that I was working at for college would start to solicit me for a job, but it was because of the KSRM co-op program that this started to happen.
So, I have been working at Killington full time since the Fall of 2009 – working in the same field as my major – at a job that I love. I've worked my way up now to manage the Internal Communications and Guest Experience at Killington.
What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking about KSRM’s program?
The classroom work is important, but the co-op work is just as important – if not more. Had I not worked so hard at my co-op and not taken it seriously, I would not be where I am today. So, meet new people and network – try new things. Also, be prepared for what this degree is: You are working where people come to play – which is a fun atmosphere, but keep in mind you will be working holiday weeks and weekends when the ‘average’ worker has time off. But the balance of having this great mountain facility sitting right outside your office window year round is worth it!