Name: Najib Iftikhar
Academic Rank: Assistant Professor
Department: Business and Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts
School: Business, Mathematics, Engineering and Technologies
Office: CH 204E
Education:¬†MBA, Colorado Technical University
BS, University of Phoenix
When Najib Iftikhar, assistant professor, hospitality and business, was traveling with his parents in eighth grade, he turned to his father and said he wanted to work in the hotel business.
‚ÄúI always knew I wanted to work in hospitality,‚ÄĚ says Iftikhar, a graduate of County College of Morris, who began a 25-year career in the hotel business when he was a senior in high school. He worked in operations and sales for Marriott and Hyatt.
‚ÄúI love talking to people, getting to know them, and bringing one-on-one service to them,‚ÄĚ he says. He adds that his wife and children have come to accept that wherever they go, he will be striking up a conversation with someone.
‚ÄúI love listening to people,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs what hospitality is all about ‚Äď getting to know people and supplying services to them.‚ÄĚ
When he taught his first class, something magical happened. ‚ÄúThe very first class that I taught about three years ago, a student gave me a high five and said, ‚ÄėThis is the best class I‚Äôve ever had.‚Äô That really hit me in the heart and I thanked him.‚ÄĚ From that point on, he was hooked on teaching.
‚ÄúYou‚Äôre making a difference in someone‚Äôs life,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúNothing is better than that.‚ÄĚ
In the hotel industry, every client is different and needs to be approached in an individualized manner. He applies that to his students.
‚ÄúYou have to deal with every student differently,‚ÄĚ he says. ‚ÄúI see every student as my client. One could be difficult, one could be easy. You have to adjust yourself to every student and be flexible in the classroom.‚ÄĚ
Outside of school, he sits on the Board of Education in his town, a post he was elected to last year. ‚ÄúEducation is a concern; it‚Äôs a key part of my life because I have kids and I teach. I also want to be involved in the community.‚ÄĚ
He adds, ‚ÄúI‚Äôve worked in hospitality for many years. In the short time I‚Äôve been teaching, the amount of satisfaction I get ‚Äď you can‚Äôt put a price on it. I‚Äôm glad to be teaching; I truly am.‚ÄĚ