Lerner Graduate Student Stories: Sarah Poursaied

Student Sarah Poursaied

Sarah Poursaied is a Master of Science in Hospitality Business Management candidate at the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. Poursaied, who plans to graduate in 2021, shared her experience choosing her Lerner graduate program and how it has impacted her both personally and professionally.

Lerner: Why did you go back to pursue your graduate degree? Why did you choose the Lerner College for your studies?

Poursaied: I completed my undergraduate degree in the winter of 2020 with a job offer to begin working in July. During the spring, my job offer was withdrawn due to the pandemic. I looked at all of my options and decided that going back to pursue a graduate degree was the best option for me at the time.

Lerner: What did you learn through this opportunity that you wouldn’t have learned anywhere else?

Poursaied: I have made so many valuable connections that I wouldn’t have been able to make elsewhere while interning at the Delaware Restaurant Association (DRA). Being able to work alongside the team at the association, the board and all of the members has been such a great experience. Specifically, working on the Rapid Workforce Training Grant from the Delaware Department of Labor has been the most educational experience.

Lerner: What is an example of a course or concept that you were able to apply directly to your life or career?

Poursaied: The customer experience management course has been very valuable to my internship as well as other jobs that I have held.

Lerner: Can you describe an important connection you have made through your graduate program?

Poursaied: I have met so many people in my industry through this internship. I have been able to work closely with members of the board and other restaurant owners in Delaware. Working with Carrie Leishman, the president and CEO of the DRA, has been such an amazing experience.

Lerner: Fill in this sentence: “My graduate program helped me become…”

Poursaied: My graduate program has helped me become much more aware of what is going on in the hospitality industry right now, especially during the pandemic. I have been able to sit in on calls and meetings with legislators and other important people in the industry. Being able to see what is going on behind the scenes has been very eye-opening.

Lerner: What was the most impactful hands-on project or case competition that you were able to participate in?

Poursaied:  For the past few months, I have been working on the Rapid Workforce Training Grant given to the DRA through the Department of Labor. This grant has allowed the DRA to offer free industry training to members and other restaurant workers in Delaware. This opportunity has allowed me to work directly with our members and the Department of Labor to help rebuild Delaware’s workforce.

Lerner: What are your plans or next steps for the future?

Poursaied: My plans for the future are to complete my master’s degree this summer and begin my career in the hospitality field.

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