Alexa Rodriguez, Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management, 2022
Dec 01, 2022, 11:30 AM.
Instruction from a professor inspired this undergrad’s passion for the beverage industry, and she secured an FIU-dedicated internship with Bacardi.
A whole world opened to Alexa Rodriguez when she came to FIU to major in hospitality management. The undergrad says she knew she wanted to pursue a career in the multifaceted industry, but didn’t know where or what she’d specialize in. With a wide range of opportunities, Rodriguez was faced with a vast sea of choices; however, through her studies, she narrowed her passion to a specific area the more classes she took: the beverage industry. In the following Q and A interview, Rodriguez, shares her thoughts on her program, how she immersed herself in volunteer opportunities, organizations, her internship and what made the difference for her.
When do you graduate?
I will be graduating in December 2022 with a degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management. I took some classes in person and some online so I could have time for my extracurriculars in hospitality.
Where do you work now? What do you do?
I am currently the on-premise customer solutions intern for Bacardi, where I am currently learning how data analytics is used to track trends and influence decision-making. I am also the president of FIU’s Wine Guild. As president, I serve as the student leader for wine partnerships, by helping arrange for appearances by industry professionals at our meetings, and plan field trips so that guild members have the opportunity to learn on-premises.
What has been your favorite class and why?
I would say it’s a tie between two classes: 1) Hospitality Law, and 2) Beverage Marketing and Distribution. Hospitality Law was one of my favorite classes because of all the information. I was so fascinated by the different laws governing the hospitality industry that I decided to enroll for beverage law as well. Beverage marketing and distribution was also a favorite of mine because it was the first beverage-related course I took, and it was the one that sparked my interest in the beverage industry.
What immediately applicable skills have you learned?
The volunteer opportunities, projects and partnerships I have been involved in through the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management have helped me develop my leadership and communication skills further.
How does your degree help you in your work?
The courses I have taken, as well as the events and student-run organizations I have been involved in, have helped me see a better picture of what I would like to do when I graduate. I am not only passionate about wine and spirits, I am also eager to continue learning about them through my work and exploring ways in which I can help reimagine the industry.
Why did you decide to study this area and choose this program?
I originally decided to study hospitality because I was interested in event planning and hotel management. Because I also love learning about different languages and cultures, I thought the program would be perfect because it is incredibly diverse, and its reach is worldwide. It wasn’t until I took a beverage marketing and distribution course with Professor Gabriel Urrutia that I realized how much I enjoyed learning about the beverage industry, and that set me on the path I am on now.
What is the one interesting thing that you learned?
I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did about sustainability within the hospitality and tourism industry. Using what I have learned, I want to make sure I do my part to raise awareness and make a difference by promoting sustainable practices.
Would you recommend this program to other students?
I would definitely recommend this program to others. The faculty and staff at the Chaplin School have been amazing. They truly want to see each of their students succeed, and they help set every one of them on a path to get there. It’s been a wonderful experience!