By Allen Wallace, firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on: May 8, 2019
It’s not at all uncommon for a college student to remain on campus for five years. That’s how long Tatiana Allgeyer has been at the University of South Carolina. What makes her time in Columbia exceptional is that in those years she earned not only a bachelor’s degree from the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, but also a master’s, while working multiple jobs to pay her own way.
In those five years she also discovered a love for the club management sector of the hospitality industry and will be pursuing her career dreams after graduation on May 11. She has accepted a prestigious rotational externship at the Alotian Club in Arkansas. Less well-known than other elite clubs by choice, the Alotian is legendary in the golf club industry as one of the world’s best.
Allgeyer had plenty of moral support from family, friends and faculty, but financially had to carry the load alone. That meant working multiple jobs through most of her college career.
"It was a challenge learning how to balance working that much. Working anywhere from 25-60 hours a week on top of a full-time school schedule was a little overwhelming to say the least,” she says. "That was the hardest part, but it taught me time management skills. I had to prioritize. I learned a lot about myself and the industry. I look at it as a positive thing, even though it was difficult."
Allgeyer’s hard work earned her a bachelor’s degree in just three years. She could have chosen to leave school and the pressure of working to keep up with tuition behind. However, unsure of where she would best fit into the industry and wanting to learn more, she chose to keep working toward her Master of International Hospitality and Tourism Management.
“I was 21 with my undergraduate degree and that was cool, but I really wasn't sure what I wanted to do,” she says. "In hospitality there are so many doors wide open, and so much of what you learn is applicable to any job you go to. I knew the graduate program in hospitality management was great. It was 100% the right decision. That's when I found my passion for the club industry."
She joined the South Carolina student chapter of the Club Management Association of America, and continued working at major professional golf tournaments including (among others) the Wells Fargo Championship and the PGA Championship, opportunities offered to South Carolina students through the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism management.
In hospitality there are so many doors wide open, and so much of what you learn is applicable to any job you go to. I knew the graduate program in hospitality management was great. It was 100% the right decision. That's when I found my passion for the club industry.
— Tatiana Allgeyer, 2019 Master of International Hospitality and Tourism Management
"I know I wouldn't have had those opportunities if I hadn't come to South Carolina,” she says. "I realized the people in this industry are a whole lot like me. We have similar goals, similar passions for service and excellence, and it feels like home to me."
She says another tremendous positive at South Carolina was the faculty. Instructor Jessica Chavis became her primary mentor, and Allgeyer credits Chavis, along with Associate Professor Cathy Gustafson, with helping her discover her passion for the club industry and helping her land the Alotian externship.
"There are so many people who have helped me along the way, whether it's just one little nugget of advice or a relationship we've built,” Allgeyer says. "Learning from these people who have incredible experience and just hearts to help the students has been invaluable. I'm so thankful for this program and the people in it, because I know they've helped mold me into who I am today."
Remembering her days as a new arrival on campus, before she had built many relationships, she smiles brightly and offers advice for current and future freshmen.
“The 2014 football game against UGA is one of my favorite memories. I only had a few friends then, but we went and it poured down rain. We were soaked and cold but the energy was just so electric. It got me so excited about school and being here,” she says. "Step outside your comfort zone. Do things that make you slightly uncomfortable sometimes. I've found that's when I grow the most."