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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Students enrolled in HRSM 301 pose for a photo together at a business dinner etiquette seminar.

Professional Development

The Marnie Pearce Professionalism Seminar (known as HRSM 301) prepares all HRSM students with the skills and confidence to achieve their career goals.

Professional development is a cornerstone of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management's education excellence, and it's what sets our students apart in the job market. Complementing the knowledge and academic skills gained in our core curriculum, this custom seminar is required for all HRSM students and teaches the soft skills needed to ace an interview and flourish in a professional setting. 

Each student who successfully completes the professionalism seminar is awarded the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management Professional Development Certification. This certification includes the following areas:

  • Jana Xanthakos and Kathy Smiling watch over students while they participate in a personality test.

    True Colors

    A team of True Colors Certified Facilitators conduct a workshop each semester to help students gain a deeper understanding of different personality types and how to work well with others who might think and communicate differently. This valuable workshop can help students to be more effective in any team environment.

  • Students pose for a photo wearing professional attire.

    Professional Attire

    What does it mean to dress for success? This interactive session teaches students the proper attire for interviews, business professional and business casual occasions. It's an educational, yet entertaining, evening of professional dress topics complete with men’s and women’s sessions and fashion show.

  • A student with headphones on smiles while looking at a laptop.

    Alumni Society Virtual Career Day

    Each semester, students enrolled in HRSM 301 have the opportunity to learn valuable networking and business communication skills during Alumni Society Virtual Career Day. Through the Zoom platform, students introduce themselves to our esteemed HRSM alumni and other industry professionals, helping them gain networking confidence while also making industry connections.

  • Students enrolled in HRSM 301 talk among themselves at a business etiquette dinner seminar.

    Business Etiquette Dinner

    The business etiquette dinner is a classroom experience in a fine dining setting! Students are seated with their peers and served a four-course meal during the etiquette instruction where they learn the traditions, manners and best practices for dining in a business setting.

  • Grammy-Award winning executive, producer and music industry leader Tricky Stewart speaks with members of the HRSM leadership team.

    Dean's Executive Leadership Lecture Series

    The Dean's Executive Leadership Lecture Series brings top industry leaders to campus to speak on business trends and hot topics. Students hear inspiring messages from groundbreakers in the fields of hospitality, tourism, retailing and sport management. The lecture series has included executives from : Chick-fil-A; Coca-Cola; Lowes Hotels; Augusta National Golf Club; Belk, Marriott, Bank of America and more.

  • An undergraduate student speaks with an HRSM PhD student during a session of the practical exam.

    Practical Exam

    The HRSM 301 practical exam is an evening of individual professional evaluations conducted by HRSM faculty and staff, alumni, partners and friends who are committed to the success of all HRSM graduates. The certification has 10 competency areas,  including: professional image, networking, resume review, business dining etiquette, behavioral interviewing and salary negotiation. At the completion of the exam, each student receives a professional headshot.

  • An instructor looks over a resume while two students look on.

    Resume Roundtable

    The USC Career Center staff in conjunction with industry employers conduct a resume roundtable to evaluate and provide feedback on students' resumes. Students also get access to Quinncia, AI technology that offers feedback on resumes using the same technology as Applicant Tracking Systems to provide real time feedback, suggestions, and flag any errors that might be caught in an ATS.

  • Faculty member Scott Taylor Jr. talks with a group of students during an emotional intelligence seminar.

    Emotional Intelligence

    Emotional quotient, also known as emotional intelligence, is something more and more employers are looking for during job interviews. During this section of the seminar, students learn about the importance of recognizing their own emotions and those of others,  to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and to manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments and achieve goals.

HRSM 301 Instructor

HRSM Hero Marnie Pearce

Marnie Pearce headshot

The Marnie Pearce Professional Development Fund was created by Marnie’s three daughters, Walker Pearce, Anne Pearce Burroughs, and Jean Pearce Rentz, for the development and delivery of intensive professional enrichment seminars and practical field experiences for students who will soon be graduating and entering the working world.

The hope of the Pearce family is that this fund and the subsequent course that evolved from the endowment will provide prospective graduates with the professional skills needed to sharpen their professional images, compete for the best jobs, and excel in on-the-job performance.


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