Robert Koenig

Associate Dean
Student Advancement Programs & Hospitality
School of Management
Joined NYIT
Robert Koenig

He has cooked for celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, William Shatner, and Ava Gabor.

Robert Koenig’s professional experience includes serving as the executive sous chef at the 1985 inauguration of President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George Bush, general manager and executive chef at Originals Bookbinders (Philadelphia, Pa.), one of the nation’s most successful and oldest restaurants; and corporate executive chef for Sheraton, where he oversaw seven hotel properties.

Koenig joined NYIT in 1994 as an assistant professor and helped build the hospitality program on the Manhattan campus. He blends theory with practice and shares with students his unique perspectives that have allowed them to thrive in the multibillion-dollar global hospitality industry. His research, presented at national and international conferences, focuses on traditional and new technology course delivery modes (online and teleconference), and analyzing each delivery mode’s cost and effectiveness in higher learning.

Koenig is associate dean of the School of Management’s student advancement programs, where he oversees mentoring, ambassador, and literacy programs, and coordinate faculty-led educational trips. As advisor to the Society of Hosteurs and the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society, he promotes community involvement in charitable activities such as the City Harvest Food Drive, St. Jude Children’s Research fundraisers, and Covenant House Toy drive.

In Koenig’s view, professionalism, customer service, and teamwork are key ingredients to success, and he encourages them to act ethically and with integrity -- no matter what career path they choose. He tells students that their name is the most important asset they have on their resume. Additionally, he emphasizes Thomas Jefferson sentiment on success: I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.

What are some of the new initiatives offered through the Student Advancement Program?

The School of Management student advisory board serves as the main channel of communication with our students and operates in the same manner as a professional board. We also promote membership in professional organizations, which provides students with opportunities to travel to national conferences, network with industry professionals, and expand their employment options.

Are you teaching anything new or exciting this year?

I help oversee our department’s supervised field work internship program, in which each of our students are required to intern within one of NYIT’s hospitality-oriented facilities: de Serversky Mansion, NYIT Auditorium on Broadway, and the Metro Café. These internships allow our students an opportunity to apply their classroom education to real-world practical experiences working alongside exceptional NYIT hospitality supervisors.

What kinds of internships and real-world opportunities are available for your students?

They intern and work in all areas of the hospitality industry. Many work in 5-star, 5-diamond properties such as the Ritz Carlton Central Park South, Mandarin Oriental Hotel, and The Manhattan Club. Additionally, we have students working within food beverage operations, catering and events, and the travel and cruise line industry. One of my recent graduates is now on the Olympic Planning Committee for South Korea - 2018.

Are there any recent events or student projects that stand out in your mind as innovative or creative?

We created a case study course in which our students work with industry partners (Hotel Association of NYC, Canadian Hotel Association, Green Key Global Sustainability and major hotels) to assess a hotel’s environmental sustainability efforts. At the end of each assessment, the students provide the hotel with a sustainable rating and recommendations on enhancing sustainability efforts.

Which business luminary do you most admire?

Ritz Carlton President Horst Schulze for his vision and dedication to service excellence and insisting on exceeding all guest expectations.

If you could open a restaurant anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Jeju Island, South Korea, also known as the Island of the Gods. The island’s mixture of volcanic rock, frequent rains, waterfalls, and temperate climate make it very similar to the Hawaiian Islands. The concept would be creative American cuisine.

What matters most to you and what do you want to be your legacy?

My faith and my family matter most. I want to impart to my daughter and my students the value of core principles such as ethics, values, integrity, leadership and community outreach, and lifelong learning.