Not all CUNY students have a made-to-order job waiting after graduation. But while earning her 2008 business degree with honors at Borough of Manhattan Community College, Adrienne Kennick worked up to 40 hours a week at Escape Guesthouse, which her mother, Elizabeth Kennick, created on a leafy street in Brooklyn’s Boreum Hill.
As day manager of the five-room B&B, the younger Kennick is still juggling work and academics — now as a New York City College of Technology senior pursuing a higher degree in hospitality management.
Her successful balancing act brought academic accolades such as an Excellence in Travel and Tourism Award from the BMCC business department. “At that time, I was already in the industry and could talk about the business I was running,” she said. “I even had a class come and take a tour of the guesthouse and learn about the entrepreneurship. I was also a tutor in the Learning Resource Center … I had never been a manager before, and suddenly I was in charge of staff. There were many times when, doing my schoolwork, I’d read a chapter about business and I could see how it applied to my job.”
Kennick recalls many BMCC professors, including Ron Clare (“I got a lot of ‘real world’ prep from him”) and Carmen Martinez-Lopez, who “really helped me believe I could go anywhere, professionally.”
On the job, she has learned the importance of building a team, and how to look beyond someone’s resume and cover letter. “See if the employee follows your values and wants to build what you want to build because if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re building something that’s never existed before.”