Teachers can Play a Pivotal Role

Student setting a table

Alum Brian Chiappa talks about his experience at the Thompson School and how he is succeeding in his professional life today and his goals for the future.

My name is Brian Chiappa and I graduated from the Food Service Management program (now Culinary Arts & Nutrition, CAN) at Thompson School in 2008. Since I was 15 years old I have been working in restaurants. When I began to look at schools I thought that the Thompson School would be a great fit for me because it combines hands-on learning, which I was used to from years of working in restaurants, with formal education about business and management fundamentals. Now I am 22 and working as a Food and Beverage Leader in Development at the Omni Parker House in Boston, MA. This position is essentially a manager in training program.  I spend forty hours per week working as a manager, overseeing multiple food service outlets, and another ten hours per week learning activities to further develop my managerial skills. The Thompson School taught me many of the management techniques which are necessary when supervising a large, diverse workforce.  In my current position I am responsible for a fine-dining restaurant, two bars, and room service.  Due to my education from the Thompson School and UNH I was hired for this job while I was still in school and started immediately after graduation.

During my years at the Thompson School, I liked the small class sizes and approachable instructors. Classes often felt like more of a conversation with the instructor than a lecture which is what I believe made it possible to learn so much in only two years. It was also great being a part of a small school on a much larger campus. There was the feeling of community, which you get with smaller classes but all of the benefits of a major university including great sports teams, recreation and surprisingly good dining hall food.

After graduating from the Thompson School I transferred into the Whittemore School of Business and Economics, WSBE (now Peter T. Paul College of Business and Economics, aka: Paul College) to study Hospitality Management. This helped me to further develop my knowledge of the hospitality industry as a whole. I feel that going to the Thompson School before WSBE (Paul College) was a great way to approach my education.  Through this approach I was able to study food service management hands-on at the Thompson School, which is my area of interest, and then later take classes at the Whittemore School (Paul College) to further develop my business knowledge and also learn more about the hotel industry.

The Thompson School has done a lot for me. The classes and instruction were invaluable tools to help expand my management skills but really the encouragement and involvement of the faculty was what has helped me the most. I do not think that I would be where I am today without the Thompson School.  The instructors there helped me to realize my potential, develop my skills and ultimately played a major part in my success.

Within the next five years I plan to return to school to pursue my Masters Degree in Business Administration. This will help me achieve my goal of becoming a director of food and beverage for a major hotel or restaurant company within the next ten years. After that I hope to move into hotel and restaurant finance and development. Eventually I would like to return to the classroom to teach.  I want to teach because through my experience at the Thompson School I learned what a pivotal role teachers can play in someone’s life.