Surat (Gujarat) [India], October 4: The global hospitality industry is expected to see revenues grow by more than 5 percent by 2027 while facing significant staffing shortages. To help address this problem, Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia, and India’s AURO University are joining forces 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, H.P Rama extended his congratulations to the teams from both universities. He emphasized the significance of the day, as AURO University and KSU joined forces with a shared goal: the cultivation of a global talent pool in the hospitality industry. He highlighted that students and faculty members from both institutions would gain not just academic knowledge, but also a deep understanding of cross-cultural values and diverse experiences. He went on to express that this partnership’s scope extended beyond AURO University, to include Auro Hotels located in the United States and India. The official start of this collaboration will be marked by Mr. Leonard’s visit to the AU campus in December 2023.
The partnership will also allow Kennesaw State students to visit India. Hospitality management faculty plan to establish 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.
About AURO University
AURO University, Surat, is one of the fastest growing Universities in Gujarat, AURO University is inspired by the vision and teachings of Sri Aurobindo Ghosh and The Divine Mother. It is a progressive center for integral learning and leadership, where the mind, body and spirit are aligned and prepared to embark on a journey of lifelong enrichment for both the individual and the community. AURO University offers programs in Business, Hospitality Management, Law, Information Technology, Design, Journalism & Mass Communication, Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and Sri Aurobindo Integral Life Centre (SAILC). For more information, please visit www.aurouniversity.edu.in