The Value of a Hospitality Management Education

    By Michelle Millar, PhD, CHE, Associate Professor & Chairwoman, Hospitality Management, Co-Chair, SOM Undergraduate Program Committee, School of Management, University of San Francisco

    Education

    Regardless of a major or concentration within a business or hospitality school, students take classes about, and learn the fundamental skills related to, accounting, marketing, finance, leadership and communication, law, and information technology, to name a few. Those skills build the base upon which they can pursue any business-career of their choosing—even if they change their mind while still in school (which is more common than not) or after they graduate (most people today spend just over a year, on average, at a job). So even if a student chooses hospitality management as a major, but decides to pursue another discipline, they still have the business skills to do so. That holds significant value for many—a business education.

    That business-base also launches students into their majors or other discipline-specific concentrations, such as hospitality management. With the business skills under their belt, they enter the major ready to tackle challenges or pursue opportunities related to service management, optimizing revenue, hospitality, event, or club management, or food and beverage operations. Taking hospitality-specific classes gives students an advantage over others entering the field in that they bring their classroom knowledge with them to their jobs. Because most all hospitality programs require that students have work experience before graduation, students are able to apply what they have learned in the classroom to their jobs immediately—they can translate theory into conceptual knowledge used in the workforce. This enables them to make educated (pun-intended) decisions at a superior level and hit the ground running faster than those who might not have the hospitality education background. It also affords students the ability to advance at a faster pace within an organization, and to enter the workforce at higher-level versus entry-level positions.

    Jobs

    “What kind of job will my child get with a hospitality education” is probably the second-most popular question we get from parents. Many have the impression that the only job opportunities that are available in the industry are in hotels, but we try to broaden that perspective. Hospitality education today must focus on this broader perspective to include food and beverage management, events, tourism—to name a few. As we all know, the job market for hospitality-related jobs is “hot” right now; there are jobs available around the world. Everyone in the industry is in need of employees. This is a strong selling point to the parents of potential, and current students. Their child will get a job when they graduate, regardless of which sector of the hospitality industry they wish to pursue. This also holds significant value for many—a job. 